Description Ridpath


How to Spell the Name

Jenkintown, Pa. 1891                                                                          By J. W. Ridpath, June 6, 1891


In the month of July 1889, I visited my uncle George Ridpath, my father’s younger brother, near Pictou, Nova Scotia.  I had previously noticed that he spelled his name Redpath, in letters |I had received from him.  During the visit about referred to, he told me he had always spelled his name Redpath, and that letters to his father, from the old country were thus addressed.  My cousin, Hugh Munro, son of my father’s oldest sister, residing in Brooklyn, NY also called attention to the fact that he thought I did not spell the name correctly.            

The above criticisms induced me to look into the matter.  The results are given below, without comment.

My father died in 1841, when I was 10 months old, I was the only child.  My mother taught me to spell my name Ridpath, saying that my father particularly told me that the name should be spelled with an i.  That an Irish schoolmaster, employed by his father, tried to teach them to spell the name Redpath and some of the boys adopted that spelling, thinking it must be correct because the schoolmaster said so.

In 1864, I visited my grandfather, Wm. Ridpath, residing near Pictou, NS.  From him I learned what he knew about the history of the family.  Among other things I asked him how to spell the name.  He replied substantially as follows:  I was born in Roxbury Shire in the south of Scotland, my wife in Northumberland, England.  When we were married during the winter of 1806 I was given a commission as shepherd in Southerland Shire, Scotland, and we at once went to our new home near the extreme north of Scotland where we lived 24 years.  When our children were old enough for school, there was none near and I employed a private teacher and fixed up an out building for a school room.  This teacher was an Irishman, and soon told us we did not spell our name correctly, that the proper way was Redpath.  I only knew that my father spelled his name Ridpath, but I was not certain it was correct; so the schoolmaster’s spelling was adopted by most of the children.

Before leaving Nova Scotia in 1864 my mother’s mother, Mrs. Sarah Blair of Onslow, gave me an old pocket book which she said contained some family letters.  Among them I find one addressed to my mother before her marriage to Thomas Jones, while she was a widow and on a visit to her father-in-law’s house.  This letter is addressed “Mrs. Eleanor Ridpath, Pictou”.  It is from Rebecca Perry, her married sister.  In the body of it she says “Mother joins in love to you and Mr. and Mrs. Ridpath and George and James. “

After returning from Nova Scotia in 1889, I carefully examined three old books, all I have, once belonging to my father, for the purpose of discovering how his name was spelled.  In a small pocked Bible is the following: “Robert Ridpath’s Bible, year 1831.”  In a grammar the name occurs four times, as follows:  on the title page is “Robert Ridpath”; on back of same leaf, “Robert Ridpath”; on first page of introduction, “Robert Ridpath”; on last blank page of book, “Robert Ridpath is my name and Carnefairn is my dwilling place and Christ is my Salvation, Dec. 25, 1828.”  The other book, a geography, did not contain his name.

Hugh Munro wrote me under date of October 13 1889, “Since you were here I have found something that mother made before she was married.  Her name is there and dated 1825, and she spelled her name Ridpath, so I am inclined to think now that you were right.”  The article referred to above is a “sampler” now in possession of her granddaughter, Isabel Munro of Brooklyn.  It contains her name and date thus: “Isabella Ridpath, June 16, 1825.”

In February 1891, I wrote to John Clark Ridpath, author of Ridpath’s history of the United States & c.  Professor Ridpath is a gentleman of learning, an historian and has given considerable attention to the genealogy of the Ridpath family.  From his letter in reply I make the following extracts: “I will come directly to the first part of your letter by saying that there is no such name as Redpath.  It is a spurious form of Ridpath.  There is a disposition on the part of careless people to say Redpath instead of Ridpath; and this patois gets into print.  *** James Redpath, founder of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau & c. wrote to me, *** that his father’s name was Ridpath, but that people kept pronouncing the name Redpath, and he (James) thought he would spell it that way, and accommodate them.  I have traced our name back to 1680, and in that far time it was invariably Ridpath.  As I believe I told you, our ancestral seat is at Berwick on Tweed.  We are by call, Saxons.  That is, we are ultimately of Teutonic descent, and not Celtic.  We have, in course of time been touched with a good deal of Scotch and Irish. *** The frist of our ancestors to distinguish himself was George Ridpath, of Berwick.  He is the author of the celebrated Border History of Scotland, which is the original authority on all questions pertaining to the history of the country down to the union of the two crowns, under James I.  George was also the inventor of the first system of English stenography.  In his earlier career, he was a newspaper man, editor of the Flying Post, a paper of North Britain.  In that relation, he was castigated by Pope, in The Dunciad, who puts him away in that bitter poem among the immortal dunces.

In The Dunciad I find the name twice, in the following lines: “To Dullness Ridpath is as dear as Mist.”  “There Ridpath, Raper, cudgelled, might ye view.”

Foot notes give the following explanation:

                George Ridpath, editor of a Whig paper, called the Flying Post.

                Nathaniel Mist, editor of a famous Tory journal called Mist’s Weekly.

                --- Raper, editor of a Tory journal called The Post-boy

The above quotations show that the name was spelled Ridpath in 1728.

Border History of Scotland, by George Ridpath, of Berwick.  This book is in the Astor Library, NY.  It was printed at Berwick in 1776.



Redpath Family

William Redpath, born 1785, died December 24, 1865

Phyllis Mathor, his wife, born 1786, died November 19, 1858


  1. Andrew
  2. John
  3. James, born 1809, died September 14, 1867. Wife Jannet Little, died March 1909
  4. Oliver
  5. William
  6. Robert
  7. Isabella, born September 20, 1807, died April 18, 1888. Husband Alexander Munro, born May 7, 1797, died February 22.1874. 

Children: William, Phyllis, John, Robert, George, Andrew, Gilbert, Alexander, Johanna, Oliver.

  1. George, born 1818, died April 22, 1908. Wife Eliza MacKay, born 1829, died December 25, 1916.


Phillis, born January 10, 1854, died June 3, 1910

Donald, born August 15, 1855, died April 6, 1946

Robert, born March 5, 1857, died July 27, 1908

William, born June 26, 1859

Jane, born July 6, 1861, died February 20, 1912

John Giddie, born September 9, 1865


Phyllis Redpath, born January 10, 1854, died June 3, 1910.  Husband Peter Grant, born 1850, died May 31, 1916.  Children:  Gordon Leonard married Lillian Johnson and Anna Jane who married Murray Campbell, one son, Grant.


Donald (Daniel) Redpath, born August 15, 1855, died April 6, 1946 married Christie Ann Cameron December 24, 890 in Truro, NS.  Children:  Eliza Jane, December 8, 1891; Isabel Ives, born January 28, 1894; Bertha Phyllis, born April 28, 1896, died June 21, 1945; Hazel Etta, born December 7, 1899.

Eliza Jane Redpath, born December 8, 1891 married Charles Alvin Heighton, born 1887, died July 26, 1994.  Children: Irene Abilagail, born October 26, 1911; Almour Charles, born May 4, 1913; Juanita Christie, born July 26, 1915; Robert Daniel, born September 20, 1916; Vernon Andrew, born February, 12, 1919;  Lloyd Douglas, born May 2, 1920; Gerald Alexander, born July 26, 1912, died April 14, 1923; Anderson Stalker, born January 4, 1923; Bruce Preston, born November 21, 1926; Gordon Hilson, born August 30, 1928; Hazel Phyllis Jane, born January 17, 1930; Joyce Isabel, born October 19, 1931, died March 1970; Janet Vivian, born August 19, 1933; Vincent Leonard, died May 19, 1936


Isabel Ives Redpath, born January 28, 1894 married Miner Fisher


Bertha Phyllis Redpath, born April 28, 1896, died June 21, 1945 married Rupert Bowron.  Children:  Phyllis Ann


Robert Redpath, born March 5, 1857, died July 27, 1908, married Grace Murray.  Children:  William, Robert, Ethel and Mabel


William Redpath, born June 26, 1859 married Jeannette Muirhead.  Children:  Elsie


Jane Redpath, born July 6, 1861, died Feb 20, 1912.  Husband, Roderick Grant.  Children:  Lily Bell, Eliza, Robert, Barbara, George and Roy


John Giddie Redpath, born September 9, 1865 married Christine Sutherland.  Children:  Phyllis, Louis, Irene, Rothwell, Christine




George Ridpath, Sundridge


A life of worth and usefulness came to a close on the 22 April, 1908 when Mr. George Redpath, of Sundridge, went to his rest.  He had attained to a good old age, being well forward in his 91st year.  He carried the burden of his years with a buoyant vigour, until recently.  Mr. Redpath was a man of excellent natural abilities, of strong practical wisdom, intelligence and independence of character.  He took a very deep interest in everything that related to the best interests of the community in which he lived.

In all Christian work he took a very warm concern, and was very active; and by all who knew him he was held in the very highest esteem.  From his earliest years he was deeply imbued with an earnest religious spirit, and his piety and consistent life recommended him as a suitable person for the eldership.  That office he held in Prince St. Church, Pictou, for a great many years with credit to himself and satisfaction to the congregation.  Men of Mr. Redpath’s type are a blessing to any community.  He is survived by four sons and two daughters, to whom we offer our deepest sympathy.


Born in 1818 in Rosbury Shire, Scotland.  Came to Canada at age nine.  


File Location

vault, original material, box #18

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