I was really pleased to get your email. Although I’ve been in touch with a fair few Hebentons, as you can see, I’ve not had much direct response from that Hebenton message!
Well, I actually know quite a bit about George Hebenton, Helen Wallace and their family. First of all, I’ll go back with his ancestry as far as I can…
As you may know George was born in the market town of Brechin (a few miles north-west of the city of Dundee) in 1797, second youngest of the ten children of JAMES HABINGTON or HEBENTON and his wife ISABEL REID. James was a shoemaker, and at some point also a cattle drover. This couple married in 1777 and their other children apart from George were (in order):
ALEXANDER (1778-d.1847-1851). Married twice. Family by first wife Janet Niven
ELIZABETH/ISOBEL (1780-1824). Married Alexander Purvis. 5 children
JAMES (1782-1856). Married Margaret Carnegie. 8 children, only one lived to maturity (also James), who was married but childless
MARY (1785-?). Married George Bell in 1805. Nothing else known
ROBERT (1787-1861). Married twice. Family by first wife Elizabeth Coull. They actually had 4 daughters & 1 son. The son, another George, went to the USA in the 1870s. I’m in touch with some of his descendants.
MARGARET (1791-1806). Died aged 15. Buried at Careston in Angus (Forfarshire)
JOHN (1793-1865). He was also married twice. Family by first wife Isabel Black. No family by his second wife Margaret Hampton, but John Hebenton was her 4th and last husband! John & Isabel had 7 children, including a daughter Susan (Mrs McPherson) who went to Australia in the 1840s. Her sister Betsy Hebentonwas jailed very briefly in Brechin in 1858 for theft! There are lots of Hebenton descendants of Betsy & Susan’s eldest brother Alexander, some in Scotland and a few in the USA & Canada too.
WILLIAM HEBENTON (1795-1861). Married Agnes Rose. William was a shoemaker in Brechin. He & Agnes had no family.
GEORGE (1797-1861). Married Helen Wallace. Your ancestors. As you probably know as well as their son ALEXANDER HEBENTON (born 1823 in Brechin) they had a daughter SUSAN HEBENTON (1835-1896), married to James Kidd. The Kidds were childless but seem to have spent some of their married lives raising Alexander Heb. & Isabella Robbs children when they were sent back to Brechin for schooling from Sri Lanka (Ceylon). (More on them later…)
DAVID HEBENTON (1802-1879). He was married twice too! First to Jean Craig, secondly to Catherine Mathers. By Jean Craig he had 11 children, but 5 died as children, by Catherine Mathers he had a last son, John Mathers Hebenton. One of his family by Jean Craig was a son, ALEXANDER, who left Scotland and travelled to the USA where in 1858/59 he trekked from Minnesota to Victoria, Canada (to the goldfields). When he reached Canada he sent a letter home to his father in Brechin which found its way into the local newspaper, detailing how he and a friend were the only two survivors of 17 who had set out on the long journey. The others died either from disease or from skirmishes with native Americans. I can send you a copy of the account if you like. I don’t know what happened to Alexander in the end but he certainly found at least a little nugget of gold in Canada: a descendant of his young half-brother John Mathers Hebenton in England has a ring made out of gold he sent back to the UK!
Going back in time, James Hebenton/Habington who married Isabel Reid was born in the rural parish of Careston (neighbouring Brechin) in 1754. The small community they lived in was called Whiteside of Careston and James followed in the footsteps of his father, ALEXANDER, who was also shoemaker there. ALEXANDER was married to JEAN WOOD (Jean died at Whiteside in 1797). Alexander probably died in 1784. Their other children were: ANNA, ALEXANDER, MARY & ROBERT.
I’m fairly certain that Alexander is identical to the Alexander Habington who was baptized in Careston in 1721, son of GEORGE. (mother’s names weren’t recorded as much in the records at this time, so the one that did all the work bringing the family into the world remains a mystery!) Assuming this linkage is correct Alexander was the eldest in that family and had younger siblings born in another neighbouring parish – Tannadice. To date, that’s as far back as I can go with certainty.
Where do I fit into all this? My ancestry traces back to the same small area of Angus. An Andrew Hebenton (probably born in the 1720s) was my earliest recorded ancestor. He ended his days in the parish of Tannadice, but was buried in Careston Churchyard in 1799. I reckon he must have been very closely related to your branch of the family but I’m just not sure of the precise family relationship.
The earliest recorded Hebenton in that area was a James “Hebbentoune” who had a “maid-child, named Agnes” born in Brechin in 1688. There’s a big gap before that to the earliest recorded one anywhere in Scotland, a Thomas and his wife Guschr who had a son born in Anstruther-Easter parish in Fife in the 1580s. Anstruther is a picturesque wee fishing port these days but at that time had a lot of trade with the Continent. There’s a tradition the the earliest Hebenton is Scotland was from somewhere in Continental Europe (perhaps Norway) and stayed on in Scotland after his ship either berthed here (or was shipwrecked), he then married a a Scots girl and here we all are today..
My late dad (another George), one of my brother’s (Ewan), and myself have been interested in the family tree for probably about 15years. Near the beginning I found a few Hebentons in various countries in phone books and wrote to Leanne Hebenton in Western Australia. She told me what she knew about the family tree and since then I've been in touch with the New Zealand branch of the family (Charles William’s youngest brother’s descendants), namely John & Bonnie Hebenton. They were on holiday here last year and we met up briefly. It’s John who has provided me with most of the details of the Australian branch of the family (which I will scan and send to you, if you don't mid giving me your email address). Believe it or not I already had your name on the family tree thanks to him! Of course, once you've studied it, any errors or omissions I’d be glad to know about! I’ve also done a little research into the other descendants of Alexander Hebenton & Isabella Robb, and only found out after her recent death, that one of their granddaughters, Isabella “Ella” Hebenton Duthie died here in Scotland in 2004 aged 104. If only I’d known about her sooner , who knows what she may have told me about the family?
Anyway, I hope this gives you some idea of where the Hebentons came from. If you want any more information just say and I’ll be pleased to add more.
(in Glasgow, Scotland)