1 Many Quhyt births were noted in Brechin & St Andrews dioceses during 1600’s
2 Forfar was a small market town with a population of about 1000. Everyone knew everyone’s business and grudges were held for generations.
3 Each man built his house as he chose.
4 This was a troubled period:
- Forfar was loyal to Charles I & against the National Covenant (1638-40);
- Execution of Charles I (1649);
- destruction of Forfar & Burgh Charter (1652).
William Quhyt or Whyt (c1600 – 1657)
The earliest documented evidence that we have of the Whyte family is the 1637 pre-marriage contract between William (a Forfar burgess), his future wife Margaret Dickesone and her father Forfar Baillie David Dickesone. As such William is the key starting point for all that follows in this family history. I have found no birth record for him, nor any links to other Quhyt/Whyt family members or any preceding generations. So, there is little evidence to help in understanding his life and origins.
At the time of their marriage he may have been in his 30’s and Margaret in her 20’s. The primary objectives of this pre-marriage contract were a commitment to a dowry (three payments) from her father and to provide a ‘liferent’ from William’s properties to protect her (financially) and any children that they might have - possibly very far-sighted for the time. It was prepared and signed by a ‘Writer’ or notary public as, like most people at the time, neither William nor his wife could read or write.
From the marriage contract (written in the Scots language) we can see that he was a well-established Forfar Burgess - a skinner or leather manufacturer by trade and the owner of local land, crofts, yards and other properties. Leather craft and skills may have been in his family for many generations by that time and William may have been a local leather craft leader. The basic four Forfar Guilds were formed in the early/mid 1600’s and it is possible that, given his son’s later role, William was probably involved with the formation of the Shoemakers or Cordiners Guild - but the earliest minute books only date from 1626.
We do not know what role he played in the Forfar Town Council as the Burgh records were destroyed. However, it is highly likely that he was involved given his local Burgess rank, possible cordiners leadership and marriage into the locally well-established Dickesone family.
His 1657 testament (Brechin Commissary Court) mentions his wife, son and
two daughters. The testament (in Scots) is simple and sets out his various
debts due from/to other cordiners and burgesses in Forfar and the surrounding
area, and makes financial provisions for his two daughters (minors). He is
identified as a glover and may have been in his 50’s when he died.
Margaret Dickesone (c1615 - >1657) No personal records have been
found for her, although her brothers and their sons are all mentioned in
the Forfar Burgh records of the time - see opposite family details.
David (1640), Isobel and Jeane (c1645) are all mentioned in his testament.
Dicksone Family (From Forfar Burgh records 1660 - 1690)
David Dickesone, Forfar Baillie (He may have married Katharein Sifwright); four children
- Margaret Dickesone (b c1615)
- Charles Dickesone (maltman) Forfar Burgess, Baillie & Provost (1663/ 70) (mentioned in 1657 will)
- William Dickesone mentioned in Council minutes 1686/90)
- John Dickesone (glover), Forfar Councillor (1669-90) (mentioned in 1657 will)
- David Dickesone (b c1621) (mason) Forfar Burgess, Baillie & Provost (1663/76) (mentioned in will)
- Charles Dickesone, Forfar Councillor (1685/89)
- David Dickesone, (b c1634) became a Forfar Burgess in 1670
- James Dickesone, Forfar Councillor, Treasurer (1685/87).