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Clan Cargill/Cargile Association

Coat of Arms

House of Names

Photos by Tam Anderson of Perth, Scotland, employee of the Earl of Perth.
Photo One   Photo Two

The Cargile Coat of Arms is officially documented in Burke's General Armory. The original description of the arms (shield) is as follows: "Erm, A Saltire Gu." When translated the blazon also describes the original colors of the Cargile arms as: "Ermine: A Red Saltire."

Cargill: From the lands of the same name, now a parish in East Perthshire, Walter de Kergyl witnessed a quitclaim of the land of Drumkerauch in 1260 (RPSA., p. 346). Bernard de Kergylle received a gift of the lands of Leisington from William de Munificheth in 1283 (Oliphants, p. 3). Iwyn de Garghille of the county of Strivelyn and Wauter de Kergille of the county of Perth rendered homage in 1296 (Bain, II, p. 205, 212). Bernard de Kergylle had a confirmation charter of the lands of Culmelly and of Ald Culmelly in the barony of Cusseny (Cushnie) in 1374 (RMS., 1, 453). William de Kergill granted a charter in favor of the Friars Preachers of Aberdeen in 1401 (Friars, 23), and Stmon Cargyl held part of Kethyk in 1457 and was tenant of Park of Newbyhhyn, 1473 (Cupar-Angus, I, p. 132, 185).
In 1481, a letter of denisation was issued to John Kergyll, clerk, a Scotsman living in Kent (Bain, IV, 1471), and Master Bernard Cargil resigned the vicarage of the church f Banff in 1497 (RSS., II 373). Patrick Cargil was a charter witness in 1498 (ibid., II 394), and Thomas Carnigill, who was appointed “maister of the grammar skwill” in Aberdeen in 1580, is mentioned again in 1585 as Cargill (SCM., II, p. 53, 64). Donald Cargill, a Covenating preacher, was condemned to death for high treason in July 1681. In the fishing village of Auchmithie, Angus, in 1859, out of a population of 375 persons, 123 bore the surname Cargill. Cargile 1545. (The Surnames of Scotland by George F. Black).

Cargill is one of the earliest surnames of Scotland, according to Black. “The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have been commenced in France about the year 1000.” The Kergyll surname is rooted in France as Walter de Kergyl in Scotland was mostly likely a Catholic monk from France. “William Stewart in his metrical vernacular version of the History of Scotland by Hector Boece says that a general council held at Forfar in 1061 directed his chief subjects to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created ‘The first erlis that euir was in Scotland.’”

“Mony surename also les and moir,
Wes maid that tyme quhilk wes nocht of befoir.
As Calder, Lokart, Gordoun, and Setoun,
Gallows, Lauder, Wawane, and Libertoun,
Meldrum, Schaw, Leirmond, and Cargill,
Stratherne, Rattray, Dundas als thairtill,
With Cokburne, Mar, and Abircrumby,
Myretoun, Menzeis, and also Leslie.”

The Celtic derivations of the name Cargill have been given, but the most authoritative is the one meaning “white fort.” The ancient lands of Cargill lay in the vicinity of an old Roman camp. The land was also near the Stone of Scone, where Scottish kings were crowned. The Barony of Stobhall was next to Barony Cargill and now resides in the hands of the families descended from Sir John Drummond and his wife, Mary de Mentifexo. The Earl of Perth, John David Drummond, lives on the Stobhall estates at present. He is 94 years old in 2001. His grandson is heir to become Lord Perth upon his death. Cargill is said to be a sept. of Clan Drummond, although this appears to be more about landed gentry than having been in battle with the Drummonds throughout the Scots/English wars. (See Clan Drummond Site).

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland You can read Online and print out the statistical account for the Cargill Parish in Perth by clicking onto
This will take you to the website. Click on County (Perth) and Parish (Cargill) and view the first. There are two statistical reports, the “Old” (1791-1799) and the NEW (1834-1845). The first one is truly a Celtic version, with some words written in Old Style Gaelic. The second one (New) is not entirely readable.

For some of us, the Cargill surname carries with it much more than just a name. Cargill, Inc., located in Minnetonka, Minnesota is the world's largest commodity trading company. The company was named for one its founders -- William Wallace Cargill. It's one of the great stories in American history.

Wayne G. Broehl, Jr., a professor in business administration at Dartmouth University, captured the essence of the Cargill enterprise in his book, "Cargill--Trading the World's Grain."

Before we look into the life and times of William Wallace Cargill, however, we need to know a little about his ancestral branches.

William Wallace Cargill was born December 15, 1844. He was the second oldest of fours sons of Captain William Dick Cargill and Edna E. Davis.

William Dick Cargill was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland in 1812, and had gone to sea in 1830, first out of the Orkneys and then in the western Atlantic after he moved to Setauket Long Island sometime before 1839. In that year, he married Edna E. Davis, who was a niece of two well-known American painters named Mount. Edna was reputed to have hated the sea "determined that her sons were to be brought up as far as possible from tidewater."

At any rate, Captain Cargill retired in 1856 (at age 44) to a farm in Janesville, Wisconsin, with his wife, his daughter Margaret, and his sons Thomas, Will (William), Sam, Sylvester, and James. Why they chose Janesville, Wisconsin is lost in history. Some say, according to Professor Broehl, that the Barkers, nearby neighbors in Janesville with family links to East Coast shipping, may have been an influence (later, in 1867, Margaret married George Barker). But it may have been also the banishments of New York papers about the wonderful lands in Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, "such good value."

When the Civil War came, Thomas enlisted, but suddenly died of typhoid fever in a Union army camp before seeing any war battles. Whether William went into the Union army or not is not known for certain, but in one publication, his name is listed as serving in the Quartermaster's department at Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas until the close of the Rebellion. Another source, John Work, in a 1965 history of Cargill, believed that the family had kept Will home-- had "reverted to dedicated isolationsim" after the death of the oldest son. None of Will's obituraries years later mentioned the army service, nor does his name turn up in such lists as kept in the National Archives. It is still possible Will served in a civilian capacity during the Civil War.

Will Cargill was the businessman in the family. After he left his Janesville home, he journeyed to Conover, Iowa where a lot of exciting business opportunities were springing up. The railroad had just been built in Conover, It is likely Will was there in late 1865.

His name was listed as one of 62 incorporators when Conover was petitioned for incorporation. The focus of Conover was business. There were three hotels, a dozen stores, some 32 saloons-- and a whole street of warehouses. It was not the saloons but the warehouses that drew Will Cargill. Later in 1865, Will made connections with H.C. Marsh, and later a partnership was formed, "Marsh & Cargill," sometimes called by the newspapers, "Marsh & Carghill." Their project was to run one of the grain warehouses.

As warehousemen, Marsh and Cargill dealt with the farmer in two ways. The farmer could consign the grain to the warehouse, keeping ownership of the grain himself (if he had enough to fill a bin). paying the warehouseman a commission for the storage time and insurance coverage and then he himself making the decision when and where to sell, at the time he felt the price was right.

The other way March and Cargill dealt with the farmer was for the warehousemen to buy the farmer's output outright at harvest, Most small farmers were on such a shoestring in these times that they often assumed chattel mortgages on future crops at plantation, gambling on a good harvest and then being forced to sell at harvest. Often the farmers became antagonized by the low price they received.

Will Cargill would have many partners in business before it was all said and done.

Then two families linked -- the Cargill's and McMillans. The McMillans were Scots, too. The Cargill/McMillan connection in the grain trade business down to the present has lasted through five generations.

Today, Cargill, Number One on the Forbes list of the 400 largest private companies, with $42 billion in sales in 1990. Until then all common stock equity was retained by the Cargill and McMillan (MacMillan) families. Over the years the company has successfully integrated into its operations everything from manufacturing steel to squeezing oranges, but the core business was, and has remained grain.

Will Cargill faced hard times, even bankruptcy, and then he became ill with tuberculosis. A will was found at William's home in LaCrosse, Wisconsin by the three heirs apparent present for the funeral-- William S. Cargill, Austen Cargill, and their sister, Edna MacMillan. It instructed that one-half of his estate go to the elder son, William S., and that one-fourth each go to Austen and Edna. The will also provided Emma Hatchett receive the income from a $100,000 trust fund, to be established separately. However, the three heirs, William S., Austen and Emma, agreed amongst themselves that Emma and her family would be treated to harshly if the will were to stand. The will was destroyed, reports say.

The crux of the history of the Cargill history a decade after Will Cargill's death, was exclusion of William S. Cargill and his advocates from company management, and the installation as head of the organization of John H. MacMillan.

The disappearing will is still a main contention for some in this family. And, it may never be known if he had a will or not.

Nevertheless, the Cargill name is still a part of American history in the grain company William Wallace Cargill began. And, there is more to the story. Stay tuned.

Cargill, Inc. Headquarters
Cargill, Inc. Headquarters
Minnetonka, MN

There were a number of people by the name of Cargill who appeared in America in the early 1700's. The first record was Rev. John Cargill (c1681-1732), of Northern Ireland. He came to Virginia in 1708. Cornelius Cargill (c.1680-1763) appeared in Virginia 1713. John Cargill (1719-1794) was born in Virginia and married Catherine Reneau; he moved to Georgia.

David Cargill (c1661-1734), father of Rev. John Cargill, came from Northern Ireland to Boston 1718 and moved to New Hampshire. James Cargill (c1687-1752) and his sister Mary Ann came from Northern Ireland about 1720 and lived in Rhode Island and Connecticut. James was supposedly a son of John Cargill of Londonderry, Northern Ireland and a nephew of David Cargill of New Hampshire.

Another John Cargill (d. October 1780) was supposedly from Northern Ireland and was of Halifax Co., Virginia and Wilkes Co. North Carolina.

Some other late-comers who came to the Colonies were: William Cargill, born May 13, 1726 in Montrose Angus, Scotland. William fought in the 1745 Rising, was captured and sent as an indentured servant to Port North Potomac, MD. He came from Liverpool on the ship Gildart. He left Liverpool Feb. 24, 1747, and arrived in Maryland August 5, 1747. There is a story about William Cargill in the Clan Drummond Newsletter (See link). Others coming to the Colonies were John and Donald Cargill of Knockcrainie Jura Argyll to Cape Fear, North Carolina in 1754. (The Original Scots Colonists of Early America 1612-1783, By David Dobson).

Another late-comer was William Cargill, a sea captain from the Orkney Islands, who settled on Long Island in 1820. He was the ancestor whose sons founded Cargill, Inc., the world's largest grain trading company headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

The Cargile surname is a derivation of the Cargill's. The "e" was probably tacked on in the late 1700's when the first census was taken in North Carolina 1784-87. Many times census takers went by the sound of the name and wrote down what they thought they heard.

The surname Cargill/Cargile is pronounced three ways today. Some people say they are Cargulls in some parts of the South and some say Cargile with a long "i". Some northern families pronounce Cargill as "Car Gill" with a short "i".

Nevertheless, our proud heritage lives on. Somewhere, if you have the surname Cargill/Cargile, you will be able to locate your roots. That is why we want to share all that we have, and you share what you have, and the picture will become a little more focued for all of us.


Note: Most Cargill/Cargile families throughout the world have traditions that they are either descended from or are closely related to Donald Cargill, the martyr. However, no one can claim direct descent as Donald Cargill never had any children. Most of the Cargill's/Cargile's are descended from his cousins. Donald had an authenticated brother, James, who appears in Scottish records ar Rattray, Scotland. He later was a merchant in Glasgow where he died. Donald Cargill's father was Laurence Cargill, who had a brother, John Cargill of Houlton. It is probably from this side of the family that the Cargill's/Cargile's descend from, including those of America, England, New Zealand, Australia, India, and Wales.

By John Cargile, Msc.D
(Reprinted by permission from The Highlander)

Donald Cargill was an eminent preacher of the Church of Scotland in the reign of Charles II. He was the son of respectable parents in the parish of Rattray, Perthshire, where he was born about the year 1610.   He studied and received his theological training at Aberdeen, and became a minister of the barony parish at Glasgow in 1650. By whatever religious or philosophical bent, Donald Cargill would, after reaching his 71st birthday, suffer, what some say, martyrdom for his faith.

Donald Cargill was tried, condemned for high treason and was accordingly hanged and beheaded July 27, 1681 in Edinburgh.

The Queensferry Covenant, a paper acclaimed in history to have been authored by Donald Cargill, led him and many other Covenanters to death, including women and children. The Queensferry paper, according to the book, "A Hind Let Loose," was used against anyone believing in its edicts.

To understand the Covenanters, one must study a history of religion and politics in Scotland during this time and be privy to the details of the Queensferry paper. The rude draft paper, found in the coat pocket of Henry Hall of Haughhead June 3, 1680, was considered of "violent" nature against the newly restored monarchy of Charles II. Episcopal government in the church was being imposed upon the Scots, the Covenanters felt, and some of the Presbyterian Kirk leaders were ready to endure martyrdom as they and their followers were to resist government by force of arms.   In essence, the Queensferry paper's message was bound up with that of human liberty as opposed to the united depotism of king and prelate. The Covenanters believed in a much more personal relationship between God and each man's soul and opposed popery. The message included the basic religious character between Scots Covenanters and English noblemen and that message rang loud and clear in the Queensferry paper. The Scots were guided by individual conscience and self control and opposed to the discipline of authority imposed by feudal and monarchial power.   As often happens, war is staged not solely on political grounds but that of religious belief. And, throughout the 1600's the battle cry sounded.

Donald Cargill's struggle began when he failed to celebrate Charles II's birthday and he refused to accept a meal with an Episcopal archbishop.

By whatever parliamentary sanctions, Cargill was forced "beyond the Tay."

In 1668, he was called before the council for not paying regard for their edicts. Petitioning the council in September 1669, Cargill was permitted to go to Edinburgh upon legal business. The council permitted this leave, but would not allow him to reside in that city, or to go to Glasgow.

The fire in Cargill's faith was lit. He became a field preacher, a fiery evangelist, (a revolutionist in today's nomenclature). He was reaching toward his 60th birthday and in the prime of life. He joined up with Richard Cameron, founder of the stiffest sect of the Covenanters. Cameron bore a Highland name, but was not a Highlander. He was the son of a Falkland tradesman.

The Scottish government, under English rule, was bent to control these Lowland fanatics and the Covenanters were bent to die as to kill their enemies.

The Scottish government determined a singular remedy. The Highland clansmen, untouched by the theological ferment in the south, were used by the government to keep order.

Cargill, for many years following banishment, made many remarkable escapes from the vigilence of the Highland clansmen, who acted like bounty hunters. Cargill was determined to follow his conscience, even refusing his own Presbyterian clergy's indulgence. Cargill believed his fellow clergy had caved in to government power.

In a book, "A Cloud of Witnesses," first printed in 1714, comes the most prolific account of Donald Cargill, Richard Cameron and Henry Hall. An account of the trials and tribulations of these three is mentioned in a book, "The Scotch-Irish Families of America," and found in a chapter titled, "The Scottish Martyrs." In the same book, in a chapter titled, "The Scottish Kirk," comes more descriptive scenes.

Cargill, Hall and Cameron preached the Christian gospel in the fields of the Lowlands. Several proofs of their valor and courage was demonstrated at Rutherglen, Drumclog, Glasgow and Bothwell Bridge.

In 1679, Cargill was at Bothwell Bridge with Hall and Cameron. Cargill was wounded, but made his escape. From all accounts, all three went to Holland, but in early summer of 1680, they appear in Scotland.

On June 3rd, 1680, two clergymen who assisted a man name Middleton, governor of Blackness Castle, saw them in Queensferry and informed Middleton. Middleton order his soldiers to follow them. They were traveling on horseback, from all accounts. When Middleton and one of his men rode up on Cargill and Hall, the latter two were stabling their horses.

Pretending to be friendly, Middleton asked Cargill to share a glass of wine together. When each had taken a glass of wine, Middleton took Cargill and Hall into physical custody and told them they were his prisoners, commanding in the king's name all the people in the house to assist. All in the house refused to assist him except a waiter by the name of Thomas George.

In this account Thomas George is said to have struck Hall with a carbine. In another account, Cargill struggled with Middleton, and Hall was mortally wounded by Cargill.

Before Hall died, he was helped by several women in the house to the countryside. He received doctor's care, but he never recovered. A General Thomas Dalzeil came with a party of guards and carried Hall to Edinburgh. On the way there he died. His corpse was carried to the Cannongate tolbooth, and kept three days without burial, though a number of friends convened for that effect, and buried him clandestinely at night.

A rough draft of the Queensferry paper was found in the pockets of Henry Hall. From all accounts, the paper was not ready for publication as it was in this draft form when the enemies found it. The Scottish government called the paper, "Cargill's Covenant." They used it as a test put to suspecting Covenanters.

In the preface of the "Cloud of Witnesses," the Queensferry Covenant and other papers were used to indict those people who adherred to its principles. Indict is only a mild form of the punishment, according to accounts. "Soldiers were ordered to take free quarters in the country, to exmaine men by tortures, to compel women and children to discover their husbands and fathers, by threatening death, wounding, striping, torturing by fire matches. They were crowded into prisons so thick, that they could scarce stand together, in cold, hunger, and nakedness. "...many ensnaring bonds, oaths, and tests were framed, and imposed with rigour and horrid severity; people obliged to have passes, declaring they had taken them, or to swear before common soliders under pain of being shot dead. "...severe laws were made against minsters that came to Edinburgh for shelter, they and their wives searched for, by public search, crowded into prisons, sent to foreign plantations to be sold as slaves. Dragoons were sent to pursue people that attended field preachings, to search them out in mosses, muirs, mountains and dens of the earth. Savage hosts of Highlanders were sent down to depopulate the western shires, to the number of ten or eleven thousand, who acted most outrageous barbarities, even almost to the laying some countries desolate."

The chief framers of this murdering edict, according to the account in "A Cloud of Witnesses," were the Earl of Perth, chancelor, Duke of Queensberry, Marquis of Athol, and particularly Viscount of Tarbet, Earl of Cromarty.

Following Hall's death, Cargill and Cameron were found at Sanquhar on June 22, 1680. There they published the infamous paper known as the Queensferry Covenant.

In part, the paper's message was 1) to avouch the only true and living God to be their God; 2) to free the church of God of the corruption of the Prelacy; 3) to persevere in the doctrine of the reformed churches, especially that of Scotland; 4) to endeavor to overthrow of the kingdom of darkness, especially idolatry and popery.

In September of 1680, Cargill is found preaching to a large congregation in the Torwood, between Falkirk and Stirling. There he formally excommunicated Charles II, the dukes of York, Monmouth, Lauderdale and Rothes, Sir George McKinzie, and Sir Thomas Dalzell.

Donald Cargill was doomed. The privy council offered a reward of 5,000 merks for Cargill's apprehension, but for several months he eluded the vigilance of the soldiery.

In May 1681, he was seized at Covington, in Lanarkshire, by Irving of Bonshaw, who treated him with great cruelty. Cargill was carried to Lanark on horseback, with his feet tied under the horse's belly. He was soon sent to Edinburgh, where, on the 26th of July, he was tried, and being condemned to death for high treason, was hanged and beheaded, July 27, 1681.

His grave is in Edinburgh at a site where other Scottish martyrs were buried.


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