As a result of Charles Muirhead’s arrival at the colony of Virginia in the 1630s, a large number of individuals bearing the Muirhead name came to inhabit America. Their history has been well documented by John Motley Morehead III in his book, The Morehead Family Of North Carolina And Virginia. But just because the history of that particular family was made public by the book (which was one of only three or four ever published on any Muirhead lines prior to this one), it should not be inferred that the Charles Muirhead lineage was the only, or, by any stretch of the imagination, the most important, Muirhead line.
Quite a number of other individuals bearing the name of Muirhead, and any of its variant spellings, left Scotland to establish new homes in the British colonies of America and the neighboring Carribean colonies. With no intended offense to Charles and his descendants, their stories are just as important to the history of the Muirhead clan as that of Charles. In this chapter we will try to look at as many of those lines as possible.(
During the Seventeenth Century, eight individuals (possibly with their families) bearing the Muirhead name arrived at the shores of the New World. In 1625, some five years prior to Charles’ arrival, a man by the name of John Muirhead arrived at America. Ebenezer Muirhead, a physician residing in Dumfriesshire, the son of William Muirhead of Crochmore and Janet Richardson, arrived at the port of Providence, Rhode Island in 1654. Two years later, another man by the name of John Muirhead arrived at Nansemond County, Virginia. Gavin Muirhead, a Covenanter, arrived in the Jerseys circa 1684. John, James and Margaret Muirhead, three Covenanters whose punishment for their religious belief was banishment to the American Colonies, arrived in 1685. In that same year, George Muirhead arrived at a port in the Jerseys.
During the Eighteenth Century we know of six individuals (possibly with their families) who emigrated from their homeland to start new lives in the Americas. Robert Muirhead and his pregnant wife left the Isles circa 1730. Enroute somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean, prior to their arrival at the Port of Philadelphia, Robert’s wife gave birth to their son, James. Alexander Muirhead arrived at Pennsylvania also in 1731. A man by the name of James Muirhead arrived at Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1749, and another James Muirhead landed at Charleston, South Carolina in 1787. As one can see from the tables presented at the beginning of this section, the individuals noted here are only the ones who emigrated in the 1700s, and only those who bore the surname of Muirhead or its variants. But descendants of the Muirhead clan, bearing other surnames, also arrived at the shores of the American Colonies. Robert Hill, the son of the Reverend James Hill and Agnes Muirhead arrived at Jamaica in the West Indies in 1737.
Then, through the Nineteenth Century, some twenty-six individuals (possibly with their families) came to America. On the first of April 1801, the will of Peter Muirhead, a planter in Jamaica, was recorded in Edinburgh, directing his property to Alexander Muirhead of Linhouse. Then, on 19 April 1803, Patrick Muirhead, the son of Alexander Muirhead of Linhouse, was reported as having died in Jamaica. Richard M. Muirhead, a merchant from Glasgow, was recorded as having died on 03 October 1819 in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. Rob Muirhead was listed in the naturalization records of South Carolina in 1847 and 1849. Two men by the name of Alexander Muirhead arrived, the first in 1810, the other in 1847. James Muirhead, who had been born in Edinburgh in 1792 was found to be working as an accountant in Charleston, South Carolina in 1812 and 1813. Prince Edward Island was the final destination of Robert Muirhead, a former sergeant in the 137th Regiment, married with a wife and three sons, in 1820. Robert was also recorded as having received a grant of land in Lanark, Upper Canada on 01 August 1821. John and Margaret Muirhead arrived at the port of Newport in 1821 on the ship, Belle Savage. John worked as a merchant. An oath of allegiance to America was signed by William Muirhead in 1821 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ann Muirhead was recorded on a ships passenger list as arriving in 1837 at the Canadian port of New Brunswick. In 1842 Lelitia Muirhead was recorded as a resident of Prince Edward Island, Canada. In 1850 Robert Muirhead was recorded in Colleton County, South Carolina. A John Muirhead was recorded as having applied for naturalization at the Oakland County, Michigan court house in 1858. In 1860 George Muirhead was listed in the naturalization records of Kane County, Illinois. Gavin Muirhead, Grace Muirhead, James Muirhead, John Muirhead, Walter Muirhead and William Muirhead all first appeared in the Ontario census in the year 1871. James K. Muirhead was recorded in the naturalization records of 1873 for the state of Tennessee. In 1874 and then again in 1878 a man by the name of Robert Muirhead applied for naturalization in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Naturalization records for the state of Nebraska reveal that a David Muirhead applied for citizenship in that state in the year 1879. A man by the name of David Muirhead applied for citizenship in the state of Illinois in 1892.
Even into the 1900s, families by the name of Muirhead were coming to America to make their homes. John Muirhead applied for his naturalization papers at Williams County, North Dakota in 1903.