Landreth History

Taken from the Book "Forebears and Descendants of Landreth Pioneers"  written by Eugene Landreth.

To the Christians in Europe, Jerusalem in the Holy Land, was a sacred city. The tomb of Christ, the Mount of Olives, Golgothat, and all places associated with the life and death of Christ were believed to have divine powers of healing and of absolving penitents of sin. People from all parts of Europe made pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

As long as the Saracens, now called Mohammedans, held Jerusulem, there was very little trouble. The Saracens permitted the pilgrims to come and go. In 1070, however, the fierce Seljuk Turks captured Jerusalem from the Saracens. The Turks began at once to persecute and kill the Christians. Pilgrims on their way to the Holy City were robbed and beaten. The sacred places of the Roman Catholic church were profaned or destroyed. One can read about the "Crusades" and "Soldiers of the Cross" or "Pilgrims" in a good encyclopedia and ascertain for oneself that the dates and events mentioned below fairly agree.

The original Landreth tradition is reported to have been one of a colony of Fleming's who emigrated from Flanders to Berwick-on-Tweed in 1070, the same year the Turks captured Jerusalem. Gold workers and Textile men settled in Scotland and at the invitation of the Scottish King.

Tradition in Berwick is to the effect that the present Landreth, of which there are about twenty, (1929) are descendants of one of these Fleming's whose name was Landrath. Berwick is situated on the east coast and north side of the Tweed River. Although Berwick is on the north bank of the Tweed, it's on the English side of the border. Berwickshire, the adjacent county, is confusingly in Scotland.

Tradition among these people are that all the Flemings' descendants of the colony of 1070, except a very few, perished in the defense of Red Hall in 1298 when Berwick was besieged by the English King. One of the survivors was a Landreth. Regarding the Port at Berwick we find in a book on English Towns and Parishes: "The Port was celebrated in the time of Alexander the Third, for the extent of its traffic in wool, hides, salmon, etc., which was carried on by both native merchants, and by a company of Fleming's who had settled here; the latter of whom perished in the conflagration of their principal establishment, called the Red Hall, which was set on fire at the capture of the town and Castle by Edward the First."

The Rev. Peter R. Landreth (now 1929) who was a Parish Minister of St. John at Perth, Scotland for several decades, says that one Landreth was a singer of Rag Rjoll, a subscription of Allegiance, on Parchment, to King Edward I. He also said that years ago his grandfather told him "the Landreth's in England are about equally divided between Protestants and Romanist." Red Hall was situated in the wool market area of Berwick and was the Hall from which the Flemish merchants operated their wool trade. The original of the Rag Roll is kept in the Tower of London. To concentrate many pages of history in a capsule: In 1296, King Edward I crossed the border into Scotland and took the King prisoner, but the Schots rose again in 1297, routed the English forces at Sterling and pursued them across the border But the next year, 1298, the English returned and inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Scots at Falkirk. For the time being, will accept Rev. Landreth's few comments since he was born, lived and died in the area.

The name or word "Landrath" spelled with an "a" is Dutch or Flemish, to indicate sometime a collective court; at other times an individual having duties connected with records of land, titles and agricultural advancement.
This compiler (Eugene Landreth) has in his files a letter written in 1929 by Symintgon Phillips Landreth of Philadelphia, PA to Henry Landreth of Cleveland, Ohio. He states "We know of the Landreths in several other states as well as Olin Landreth of New York and feel sure that we must be descendants of one of the three brothers who originally came to this country prior to the Revolutionary War, most of whom settled in Canada."

Symington Phillips Landreth's letter continues, "My father frequently remarked that his ancestor, David Landreth, was born in Northumberland County, England and was very familiar with the traditions there and said that before his ancestors, border men, owing allegiance sometimes to the English King, sometimes to the Scotch King, settled down in the early years of the sixteen hundreds as small farmers, that they were "cattle lifters" as were nearly all Twede-side men; respected accordingly to the success of their forays, some going to with-in sight of Edinburg, at other times west to the Cheviout Hills or south to New Castle. Only the Cheviot Hills and Tweed River divided England from Scotland. The taking of a few head of cattle was looked upon as thievery, while the running off of herds of horn cattle or flocks of sheep stamped a man as a chieftan of ablility."

Symington Phillips Landreth, born in Pennsylvania about 1870 and died there in 1931, listed his forefathers as follows:

Burnet Landreth, born 1842 in Philadelphia, PA.

David Landreth, Jr., born 1802 in Philadelphia, PA

David Landreth, born 1752 at Haggerston, Northumberland, England

Cuthbert Landreth, born 1720 at Haggerston, Northumberland, England.

Oliver Landreth born about 1676 was a tenant on the Estate of Sir Carnaby in Haggerston,

Haggerston, Ashcroft, Northumberland, England.

Oliver's father born in England about 1625. (We know Oliver's father was Cuthbert Landreth
born 1625-1630 in Northumberland England and Cuthbert's father was Patrick Landreth
b. ca 1580 in Northumberland.)

According to correspondence between Symington Phillips Landreth and Henry Landreth in Cleveland, Ohio an unsuccessful attempt had been made to trace the ancestors back to Alsace-Lorraine....was traced back to Patrick Landreth, born about 1580, who had a son, George, who died in Coldstream in 1690. Since very few records exist before that time they were unable to make further connections. David Landreth who came to Philadelphia in 1783 was born in Berwick in 1752. He was about 20 years of age when he left England. The history that Symington Phillips Landreth handed down was probably told by David who came to the U.S.A. with much knowledge of his family.


Anterior to that there is no record whatever, but it must be surmised that the above named people descended from a Landrath, who it is claimed, was one of the Flemish Colony which settled at Berwick-on-Tweed in 1070, there thus being a break of almost 300 years in the record and that all Landreths, whether their name is spelled with an "a", "e", or an "i" descended from the one Landrath survivor in the defense of Red Hall in 1298.

The Landreth tribe seems always to have been very limited in number in England, overflowing to a slight degree from Berwick to adjacent points as ten miles south to Haggerston, Ashcroft and Beal; ten to twenty miles west to Hume, Kelse, Greenlaw and Coldstream. Landreths must have been great admirers of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), the chief leader of the Puritan Revolution in England, since so many named their sons Oliver. Few of these border people were ever risen to eminence.

One of them, Richard Landreth, born 1761, near Hume was commissioned in 1781 a Lieutenant in the 94th Regiment; died as a Colonel in Grenada in 1811.

Another, William Landreth, of Greenlaw or Hume, born 1763, was commissioned in 1781, Ensign in the 33rd Regiment; died as Captain in 1790. Several other Landreths were Clergymen in the Scottish Church.


Many legends and stories have trickled down through the generations. Some have very old Bibles containing notes that all Landreths are kin. Too many of the old Landreths insisted that all were of the same family. Therefore, it cannot be ignored.

Many Landreth's have lived in Virginia and North Carolina where their ancestors were born and lived all their lives........where legends and hearsay have been passed down through the generations.....The legends that all Landreths descended from one common Landreth ancestor. Floyd Landreth born 1884 of Galax, Virginia remembered his grandfather very well and the stories he told. Dr. James Benjamin Landreth of Fries, Virginia writes (1953) "My grandfather wrote in his Bible that all Landreths in America were kin." This compiler has corresponded with Landreths in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and England. All who know are descended from the same ancestors as those of us in the U.S.A.

The most widely repeated legend was first told to me by Mrs. Mildred Landreth Perkins of Johnson City, TN in 1969. Mrs. Perkins was then deeply involved in Landreth research. She remembered "fireside chats" and stories told by her grandfather.....That three brothers had come to America about 1730. One of them, Thomas, had settled in Rowan County, NC, where he raised a large family. Some mention other names, for instance, Samuel and John.....and some mention David. However, it seems that all agree that the one who settled in North Carolina was Thomas. Some say he took a Cherokee Indian Maiden as his wife. This researcher has spent many weeks in an effort to document these many theories but all to no avail. Yet, much information was located in the effort. Records indicate that all those listed below did exist and this compiler is confident that the record below is fairly accurate. book in the Birmingham, Alabama Library (Sou. 929.4) "Surnames of Scotland" by Black

From a lists the following:

George Landreth, son of Patrick Landreth, died in Coldstream, Scotland in 1690.
James Landreth died in Hume in 1717.

William Landreth was a tenant in Sweethope in 1777.

James Landreth was a minister at Simprin, Berwickshire in 1756.


From a group of books: "A list of Parchial and Non Parochial Registers" and "Relating to the Counties of Dorham and Northumberland" by Herman Maxwell Wood, B.L. are the following listings:

28 Jan 1667, a marriage, George Landreth, Cordwiner, and Dorothy Midleton in Parish of

11 Dec 1673, a marriage, Selby Williams, married...Witnesses: Cuthbert Landreth and
George Shorewood in book "Durham Marriage Bonds." Durham is just south of

5 Jun 1683, a marriage, Cawan Jackson, Souldier, married Jane Landrith. From a book
"Berwick Register, Marriages 1572-1700." Berwick is just north of Northumberland.

1739, a marriage, Thomas Landreth of Hawburn Parish married Margaret Todd of Lyham
Parish of Chatton. From a book "Chatton of Northumberland Registers 1312-1812.

10 Feb 1741, a birth, Susannah, a daughter of Thomas Landreth of Chatton in the same book
as above.

12 May 1744, a birth, Cuthbert, son of Thomas Landreth of Chatton in the same book as
above. Chatton is in Northumberland, four miles east of Woder on road to Belford.
Chatton is 10-15 miles south of Berwick-on-Tweed.


The compiler recently received a copy of a letter written to Robert Landreth in New Zealand from Thomas Landreth Smith in St. George, Grenada. The letter was written 6 Oct. 1919, but most of the contents were excerpts from a letter written to Thomas Landreth Smith from Burnet Landreth in Philadelphia, PA in December 1909. Some to the contents as follows:

"The original Landreth family settled at Berwick-on-Tweed. The immediate ancestors of my grandfather, David Landreth, lived south of Berwick while other members of the family went north into Scotland.

"While my grandfather lived in Philadelphia, there was a resident nearby a certain John Landreth, a cousin, who was the State Surveyor, and a cousin of this surveyor was Richard Landreth, born near Stichell, a village northwest of Berwick, who was commissioned in 1781 a Lieutenant in the 94th Regiment, and in the course of duty was sent to the Island of Grenada, West Indies, and died in 1811 with the rank of Colonel. He married a Miss Fragier (or Fraser according to records) of Edinbourough."

"He had a brother, William, who was commissioned an Ensign in the 33rd Regiment, died in 1790."

"The two brothers were natives, either of Stichell or Hume. They had a sister, Mary, who married John Boyd of Peebles. They were sons of William Landreth of Stichell, who married Margaret, the daughter of Sir Thomas Brown of Stichell. William was a son of James Landreth of Hume."


After twenty-five years of intensive research, corresponding with many other Landreth researchers and visiting personally with scores of them for interviews..the following is what this researcher has concluded....Though it is not complete, it is a good pattern to be worked on and improved. Since the last edition some changes have been made due to notes sent by researchers in the United Kingdom.

Eugene Landreth's e-mail address is: