The Quilietti Family

The story of a Scots Italian family


PINKERTON – This is a world famous Scottish, and sometimes Irish, locational surname. It originates from the barony of Pinkerton near the town of Dunbar, in East Lothian, Scotland. It is first recorded in the year 1296 when the landowning nobility of Scotland were required to sign allegance to the short lived republican government of John Balliol overthrown by the famous Robert, the Bruce, in 1306. One of the signatories was Nicol de Pynkertune, and it is said that a surviving example of his seal, although not his coat of arms as this is not known, is inscribed with a mastiff dog and the name Sir Nicolai de Pinkerton. A knighthood in those far off days was less formal than today. It may have implied that he was a trained horsemen with his own armour, and available for service to who ever paid best. The name “moved” to England in the late 14th century when Patrick de Penkerton, so much for spelling, was living under protection in England. Whether this was temporary or permanent is not known. It seems that in the 15th century the barony became part of the estates of the earl of Argyll, and that Pinkertons settled in Ireland from about 1641. The surname Pinkie is also associated with the name, but this is not correct, the Pinkie’s being from the lands of Pinkie in Midlothian. The original spelling was Pontekyn, becoming Pinkie in the 16th century.
The name “Pinkerton” originated with Robert de Pontchardon, a retainer of William the Conqueror, whose name appears in the Battle Abbey Roll and on a large commemorative plaque on the narthex wall of the church at Dives-sur-Mer on the Normandy coast. The town of Pontchardon is located in Normandy, five kilometers east of Vimoutiers and about 45 kilometers east of William’s birthplace at Falaise. For his services, Robert was granted holdings in Devon in southwest England. His heirs subsequently acquired estates from neighboring Somerset to Northumberland in northern England and East Lothian in Scotland. Variant pronunciations and spellings of the name evolved from Punchardon in the south to Pinkerton in the north, the main difference stemming from the soft Anglo-Norman versus the hard Anglo-Saxon treatment of the “ch” sound. Pinkerton is the predominant surviving form, and to the extent that we all descended from Robert, all Pinkertons are related.(See A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, by Charles Wareing Bardsley.)

This line has so many diverse branches, including our own.

Pinkerton is Scottish and is a recognised sept of Clan Campbell.
“A History of Clan Campbell, Volume I” notes The surname of Pinkerton comes from the place of the same name near Dunbar, in East Lothian. In 1483, Colin, 1st Earl of Argyll, “for his faithful and gratuitous service” received a Royal Grant of the lands of Meikle and Little Pinkerton, forfeited by the Duke of Albany. The lands were by the same charter incorporated into the Barony of Pinkerton.

The most famous Scottish Pinkerton is Allan Pinkerton, who served as Lincoln’s spymaster during the Civil War & later founded the Pinkerton Detective Agency that took on Jesse James and the Molly Maguires during the late 19th century. Granted, they didn’t make any friends on those two jobs…Pinkertons are (or were) farmers in the Lanark area. Don’t know if it is a Scottish name but if someone has a copy of Black’s surnames of Scotland they can look it up for you.  Allan was born in Glasgow on 25th August 1819.   He was the son of William Pinkerton and Isabel McQueen.  This branch of the family is traced back to George Pinkerton who was born in 1714.  I have still to establish whether or not the two families were connected

James Walker was born on 18th October 1779 in Paisley in Renfrewshire. He was the son of William Walker and Margaret Jamieson.

About 1800 he married Mary Pinkerton whose family were from the same area. She was the daughter of James Pinkerton and Agnes Thomson

DAUGHTER ELIZABETH WALKER was born on 18th April 1801 in Irvine in Ayrshire.

Elizabeth married William Reid on 19th November 1811 in Irvine in Ayrshire where they were parents to 8 or so children.

DAUGHTER MARGARET WALKER was born on 9th May 1805 in Irvine in Ayrshire. Margaret married John Simpson on 23rd May 1824 in Irvine. They also had a large family

And further states, On the tenuous basis of the above, the name Pinkerton has been listed as a Campbell sept. The most famous holder of the name is the well-known American detective, Allan Pinkerton.

Our 3rd great Granny Mary Pinkerton was born in Irvine in Ayrshire in 1870.  Her father was James and her mother Agnes Thomson.  They married on 3rd April 1777 in Irvine  in Ayrshire.

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