Guthrie Family History


The Guthrie family that we follow has its origins in Forfarshire, now part of the County of Angus, in the southerly Highland shires on the East Coast of Scotland norteast of Dundee. The dominant early settlers in the area were the Celts, but the Picts, the Romans, the Danes, the Irish passed through the area contributing to its racial mix. The Guthries are on record in the area of Angus and Forfar since the time of William the Lion, AD 1165. The name Guthrie is of Celtic origin, deriving from a description of the area around Forfar. A very good description of the ethnology and facts surrounding the history of the Guthrie name can be found in "American Guthrie and Allied Families" by Laurence R. Guthrie.

GuthCastleAbout 1299, one Squire Guthrie was sent from Scotland to France to ask Sir William Wallace to return to his native land to aid in the wars against England. The Guthries held the Barony of Guthrie as early as 1348. In 1468, King James III of Scotland (ruled from 1460 until 1488 when he was assassinated) gave David Guthrie permission to build a fortified tower that still stands intact as an integral part of Guthrie Castle, Forfarshire, Scotland, at the foot of the Hill of Guthrie.

We are able to trace our Guthrie roots back to a William Guthrie of Scotland. There are sources which allude to William being a son of James (the Martyr of Sterling) b. 1616 d. 1661 & Jane Ramsey, son of John Guthrie, XI Laird of Guthrie b. 1577 d. 1649 and Nicola Wood d. 1645 and of Guthrie Castle but there is no certainty. We cite a source above and suggest the reader also search through the various records at,,, the, and the Angus, Scotland genweb project, all of which we have found helpful. We suggest the reader come to his own conclusion.

William had three sons, James, Robert and John. James was born about 1703 in Scotland. James and Robert emigrated from Scotland in the early 1700's to America. John, who died about 1756, emigrated first to Ireland thence to America about 1718.

James, who married a Miss Bussell (or Bissell), stayed in Connecticut, then migrated to Chester County, Pennsylvania, staying there, according to tax records, from 1749 to 1763. They had four sons: William, Thomas, James and Robert. [Editor's note: this repetition of names from generation to generation makes verification extremely difficult. Family records, including written recollections and correspondence have helped create much of the records included here].

William, born about 1735, was in the military most of his life. He was the first Guthrie to live in Pittsburgh, PA. He left Pittsburgh during Pontiac's War, 1762. He enlisted as a private in April 1776, in the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment and participated as a soldier in the American Revolution. He later joined Col. Broadhead's Regiment in the march on Ft. Pitt. He chased Indians in Westmoreland County, PA and served in the Cumberland County, PA, militia.  Official records, based on original documents in the custody of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Archives and History, indicate that one William Guthrie served as Captain of a Company of Rangers, Westmoreland County, beginning in 1780.

John, b. in January 1775, son of William, also had a son, John M. b. about 1798. John M. is said to have at least one son, Alex.

The great grandson of William and son of Alex, John Rankin, was a Union Soldier in the American Civil War. He died at the Second Battle of Bull Run on Aug. 29, 1862. John Rankin married Martha Williams and had one child, Herbert Bruce.

Herbert Bruce, b. 14 July 1859, married Mary Philistina Frampton in February 1883. Mary Philistina.  Herbert and Mary had 10 children. Ester Emily, born 18 March 1895 in Strattanville, PA, married Clair Franklin Sterrett on 12 Dec. 1915 when she was 20. She died at the early age of 28 in 1923. They had one daughter, Hazel Lucille (Lucy) born 31 October 1916.  Her Aunt Sara McCleary raised Lucy after her father moved to New York following her mother's death.

Lucy married Eugene Vincent Sanker on 23 April 1949 in Bowling Green, Ohio. They have two children, Gene Richard, b 1953 (who continues to live in Michigan), and Kathleen, b. 1955. Kathleen married Robert Serventi on 26 June 1976. They have four children and live in California.

Copyright 1999-2013 Robert Serventi