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The Rennies of Turriff, Aberdeenshire

The Arms of Turriff
The importance of Turriff is perhaps summed up by this Aberdeenshire saying:   "Turra, Turra, faur the sorra idder" Basically, it questions the wisdom of anyone who would want to be anywhere other than Turriff. History remembers Turriff as the place which witnessed the first serious bloodshed of the Scottish Civil War, for it was here in 1639 that the Covenanters and the Royalist forces clashed - the encounter being known as the  "Trot of Turriff".

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Aberdeenshire Arms were granted in 1890. The 4 quarters show the 4 main parts of the county.
The 3 garbs for BUCHAN.
The bend and cross crosslets for MAR.
The checkerd bar and crowns for GARIOCH.
The 3 boars' heads for GORDON.


Arns of Ontario


Arms of Wisconsin


Arms of Saskatchewan

My Mom writing in Prairie Profiles, tells a tale of the goings-on during her growing up years on the Saskatchewan prairie. The weeds and gophers were not controlled by chemicals in those days. The kids pulled the weeds and drowned the gophers.  The municipal district use to pay the kids 1 cent each for gopher tails, the kids being kids would catch the rodents , cut off their tails and turn them loose, hoping they would grow back again.
Also from Prairie Profiles: my Grandad Will Rennie, lost in a blizzard, but being an old-timer never liked to admit the fact, he wound up at a neighbor's place, made out he was just paying a visit.

One time a neighbor and family were caught in a bad storm and useing their characteristic ingunity of pioneers, they simply turned the wagon box up-side down and stayed inside it until the storm went down, only to find themselves almost home.

Generation-5 Isobel Chalmers m: William Rennie abt 1792. Although I haven't been able to connect Isobel to her family, her surname is worth a mention. One resource claims that the name Chalmers is of occupational origin, but I believe that theory is hogwash.
The name is Scottish with a flavoring of French. Chalmers is from the ancient lineally de-Camera or clan Cameron. As the story goes, one of the name de-Camera went to France and put his name Cameron in a latin dress Camerarius, and in French da la Chambre, and upon return to Scotland the name became Chalmers, which tradition says is confirmed by the fleur-de-lys on the field of the Chalmers Wappen.
If we consider the fact that our Chalmers family in a Septs of  Clan Cameron, from which the name evolved. The name Chalmers is of appearance origin, meaning bent nose.


Chalmers of Cults Aberdeen

Generation-9 Other Rennies who homesteaded in the Ear View area and made a significant contrubutions were,  (5) Anne Jane Rennie m: George Johns,  (7) Edward Mckenzie Rennie m: Leila Andrews

The origins of our branch of the Rennie family are found in the north-east of Scotland, in the parish of Turriff, county Aberdeenshire. The parish seat  is the town of  Turriff which lies in the heart of rural Aberdeenshire, south of Banff and MacDuff and at a point  where the Burn of Turriff runs into the River Deveron. The town's origins date back to a Columban monastery built near by about AD 1000. The monastery is associated with St Congan who flourished at the beginning of the eighth century. The sight of the monastery is a commanding one and suggetsive of its occupation by the early Pictish tribes.
Some time later St Congan's Church was built in the town at the end of  what is now Castle Street. The bellcote built 1635 still stands. Castle Rainy from which Castle street took its name no longer stands, but has an obvious ancestoral connection to our family. The name Turriff seems to be derived from the turrets or towers, which were associated with the gateway and vaults of an old and in 1850 ruinous building known as Castle Rainy.
In 1179 the Knights Templar were granted land in Turriff to set up their second establishment in Scotland. Their Temple no longer stands, but a spot of land to the south is still called TEMPLE BRAE. In 1512 Turriff gained burgh status. Over the centuries Turriff grew in size and developed into an important market centre. In 1760 Turriff was a seat of industry, manufacture and inland trade. Linen wool and silk threads were the raw materials for weaving, knitting and carpet manufacture. The parish also had many farms growing cereal crops for the malting industry, used in the wiskey the distilleries.
Remnants of the Rennie families roots are found in the Turriff kirkyard and the 1698 pole tax records.

The Rennies of Aberdeenshire were known to be Crofters (small holding farmers), shop-keepers (bakers), shoemakers and carpenters. I am of the belief that our Rennie family were not among those poorest of Scottish families that were forced from their land by Landlords, and then to emigrate, but did have the means to sponsor their own ticket to a new life.
The 1830s saw an intensification of migration and emigration of Scottish Crofters.The trickle of emigrants and migrants become a stream as the economic situation deteriorated. Landlords even financed schemes where their tenants were removed from Scotland to the Americas, thus removing the population burden on their lands. Often the tenants were given no option but to emigrate. The Landlords only purpose was to move the tenants off the land and make room for the sheep.

Wellington County
It is the year 1834 and 31,000 immigrants arrive in Canada. British immigration is rising to a peak. The town of York becomes the city of Toronto, population 10,000, the first city of Ontario. The village of Guelph, founded in 1827 by Scottish novelst John Galt as the headquarters of the British land development firm known as the "Canada Company", population, maybe 100. Guelph  would also be the headquarters of the Rennie family from Turriff Scotland. Guelph would remain a village until the Grand Trunk Railroad reached it in 1856.

We have no detail of the families' long ocean voyage to the new world. They may have landed at Quebec, Halifax, Boston or New York. My best guess is New York where there would have been another lengthy journey, broken-up by a package-steamer voyage up the Hudson river to Albany. That followed by a series of canal-boat passages on the Erie and the Oswego Canals to Oswego on Lake Ontario. Then transferring to a Lake Sreamer to Hamilton and finally a very rough stage trip to Guelph. There were very few railways in 1834.
I know of four Rennie families who made that 1834 passage, there may have been more. (1) George Rennie and wife Mary Thomson, (2) their son William Charles and wife Elizabeth Trail. (3) George Rennie's brother John and his wife Margaret Raeburn, and (4) their son John Rennie and wife Jane Raeburn. The land was mostly forrested at that time and was under survey to be parcelled out and sold to the settlers. I asume that men's first jobs would have been with the Canada Company.
William Charles Rennie was born in Turriff Scotland in 1815. He came to Canada and Guelph township with his parents in 1834. After working for George Lillie, (married to William Charles's cousin Jane Rennie) for some time, he bought 49 acres of land from the Canada Company and cleared it. In 1854 William saw the need to expand and bought land in "Queen's Bush" a large land development area where he built a fine farmsread. The railway would arrive in 1856, and in 1858 he and his family settled in Maryborough Township. William Charles was my "great great grandfather".
Born in Marybourgh were William "great grandfather" and  William John "grandfather"  both were carpenters. "Will" Rennie my grandfather married Mammie Kramis about 1888. Mammie died about 1898. Their son Earl Rennie Kramis was adopted by Mammie's parents.
Will Rennie moved on to Lucas Dunn County Wisconsin where he practiced his carpenter skills. There he met and married Olive Anna Endecott. Three children were born in Lucas, my mother being the second.
 In 1908 the Will Rennie who, with wife Olive Endecott and their family of three came from Wisconsin. They took up a homestead ten miles south and east of Gull Lake, just within the shelter of two prominently placed hills, known as The Ears. At that time there was very little land broken and the roads were only trails.
There were no elevators when they arrived. Will Rennie, a carpenter and his partner Mr Moore had the contract of the building the Federal grain elevator in 1910. Will's sister Anne and husband George Johns had homesteaded two miles north of the ears. Together George and Will built a good share of the Gull Lake down town. Will worked with the Creelman crew, the first big threshing outfit in the district. Goerge Johns had the first steam engine as well as the first combine.
 I am quite sure that in 1909 Will Rennie would have been involved in building the Ear View school. Church services and sunday-school were held in the school, where Will was the sunday-school superintendent for many years.
All of the district kids went to Ear View School. My mom later went to Normal school in Regina and qualified as a teacher. She taught public school for five years. In 1931 my mother Viola Maud Rennie married my father Edwin William Kaul. 

From the People of Turriff and Auchterless "1696 pole-tax roll" and Kirkyard of Turriff
Unknown Rennie b: 1635, his sons James & father of Wm
James Rennie b: abt 1664 Turriff Aberdeenshire
Father of Wm Rennie b: 1666 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: abt 1712
James Rainie b: 1698 Kirkhills Turriff Aberdeenshire
George Rennie b: abt 1705 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: Oct 1775, m: Barbara Moir, their  on Theodore
John Rennie b: 1707 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: ??, m: Isobel Wales she b: abt 1707, d: Mar 16 1763, their children (1) Alexander, (2) William and (3) Thomas
Generation-3 Wm  Renny b: abt 1700 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: 1762 Turriff, wife unknown, their son Theodore

Generation-4 Theodore Rainy b: Apr 11 1728 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: abt 1790 Turriff Aberdeenshire, m: unknown, their son (1) William
Generation-5 William Rennie b: Dec 6 1765, d: abt 1828, m: Isobel Chalmers b: abt 1772 d: abt 1832, their children (1) George, (2) Charles, (3) Isobel and (4) Francis

Generation-6 George Rennie b: Mar 20 1793 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: abt 1850 Guelph Twp Wellington Co Ontario, m: Mary Thomson b: Old Machor Aberdeenshire, d: abt 1850 Guelph Twp, their children (1) William Charles, (2) John, (3) Mary Ann and (4) Rosanna
Generation-7 William Charles Rennie b: Nov 19 1815 Turriff Aberdeenshire, d: 1890 Marybourgh Twp Wellington Co Ontario, m: Elizabeth Trail b: Dec 17 1813 Old Machor Aberdeenshire, d: abt 1890 Marybourgh Twp, their children (1) William, (2) John, (3) Margaret and (4) Jane
Generation-8 William Rennie b: 1839 Clifford Huron Co Ontario, d: 1934 Gull Lake Saskatchewan, m: Elisa Jane Birthman b: Apr 19 1844 Essa Simco Co Ontario, d: Oct 1 1926 Gull Lake Saskatchewan, their children (1) William John, (2) Ella Beatrice, (3) James Alexander, (4) Ida Carolina, (5) Anne Jane, (6) Benjiman, (7) Edward Mackenzie and (8) Maud Mary
Generation-9 William John Rennie b: Nov 1 1866 Clifford Huron Co Ontario, d: Nov 26 1960 Regina Saskatchewan, m: (1) Mammie Kramis b: abt 1866, d: abt 1898, their son Earl Rennie Kramis, m: (2) Olive Anna Endecott b: Jul 4 1880 Eagle Richland Co Wisconsin, d: Feb 1951 Gull Lake Saskatchewan, their children (1) Evert Kenneth, (2) Viola Maud,  Nepha Victoria, (4) William Franklin, (5) Lloyd Wesley and Marshall Endecott
Generation-10 Viola Maud Rennie b: Oct 11 1905 Lucas Dunn Co Wisconsin, d: Feb 9 1994 Calgary Alberta, m: Edwin William Kaul b: June 21 1904 Harried South Dakota, d Jun 2 1987 High River Alberta, their children (1) Keith Robert, (2) Ronald Wesley, (3) Jean Ann and (4) Alan John


Clifford, Marybourgh Twp, Wellington Co, Ontario


Gull Lake Saskatchewan 1910

The Rennies of Wisconsin

My Grandfather William John Rennie
My Grandmother Olive Anna Endecott
Will Rennie Carpenter
The Rennies of Saskatchewan

1941 from the left
my mother Viola, Grandfather Will, Uncle Wes
Grandmother Olive and aunt Nepha



Evert Rennie 1944


abt 1940 from left
uncle Evert, Will & Olive Rennie

My Kaul Family History by Keith Kaul

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