Person:RAMSAY, William (1716 - 1785)

From Gauss' Children
Jump to: navigation, search

RAMSAY, William (1716 - 1785)
Family(s): Ramsay
Person ID (Link to genealogy): GED link doc.gif I12504
Sex: M
Date born: 1716
Born in: Galloway, Scotland
Date died: 10 Feb 1785
Died in: Alexandria, Virginia
Spouse(s): BALL, Ann McCarty (1731 - 1785)
Children(in Wiki):

Religious affiliation(s): Presbyterian
Occupation(s): Entrepreneur, Government service
Occupation details: he came to America as a representative for a Scottish mercantile firm in ca. 1742, mayor, William Ramsay entered the mercantile business with John Carlyle and John Dixon (1754-57), and by 1760 he owned the George Tavern, served as justice of the peace
Fawcett book: RAMSAY, William (1716 - 1785)
Other attributes
Needs annotation: Yes

From Bill Fawcett's book:

Biographical sketch

WILLIAM RAMSAY SR. was born in 1716 in Galloway, Scotland. His ancestors were Scottish Presbyterians, and he came to America as a representative for a Scottish mercantile firm in ca. 1742. He first located at Dumfries in Prince George County, but later moved to some land he acquired at West Point, above Hunting Creek on the Potomac, with John Carlyle and John Pagan. William Ramsay was among first trustees (1748-78) of Alexandria, Virginia, and purchased several lots (4, 46-47) in the initial sell of them on July 13, 1749. He was installed as the first mayor in a ceremony on St. Andrew's Day. In his role as trustee he also supervised the construction of the new courthouse in 1754. He was again elected mayor on November 30, 1761 (Cox 1976).

William Ramsay married Ann McCarty Ball, a cousin of his lifelong friend George Washington. The children of William and Ann Ramsay included William Ramsay Jr. and Dennis Ramsay (1756-1810), Ann Ramsay (m. Robert Allison 6/7/1784 Alexandria), Hannah Ramsay (m. 6/14/1785 Michael Madden), and Sarah Ramsay ( -1814). In 1751 William Ramsay had the frame home built at the northeast corner of King and Main Streets (221 King) that today serve as the visitor center (Cox 1976). Ramsay's Alley (now Fayette Alley) was later cut through the north edge of his lot between Pitt and St. Asaph Streets.

William Ramsay entered the mercantile business with John Carlyle and John Dixon (1754-57), and by 1760 he owned the George Tavern (at the NW corner of Royal and Cameron until it was demolished in 2/1870 [Cox 1976]). Their mercantile firm acquired its own sailing ships with which they transported passengers and conducted an export/import business. In 1766 William Ramsay made a brief trip to Scotland, where he was made a Burgess of the towns of Dumfries and Kirkwdbright.

During 1763-64 he directed workers and slaves who built the first brick prison for Fairfax County in Alexandria. The two story (36' x 20') building cost 56,000 pounds of tobacco.

William Ramsay served as a Justice of the Peace for Fairfax County (1762, 1770-82) and on the Fairfax Committee of Safety (1773-74). During the American Revolution, William and Ann Ramsay raised $75,000 for the Continental Army. Afterwards they aided the orphans of veterans.

In May 1772 William Ramsay purchased a pew at Christ Church for L 33. That year he also was appointed a trustee for the special tax to improve the roads to the Shenandoah Valley. During the June 1773 smallpox epidemic, William Ramsay assisted other in inoculating residents of Alexandria against the disease.

In 1782 William Ramsay served as Treasurer for the newly organized Alexandria Masonic Lodge. At that time he also owned 20 slaves. He also served as Alexandria's post master (1770-85).

William Ramsay died in Alexandria on February 10, 1785, and was buried beside his wife near the east wall of the old Christ Church yard in a grave marked only by a Scottish pine. Many of the Ramsays are buried in the First Presbyterian Church graveyard (S. Fairfax St.). His heirs were sued by John Dixon in 1820 (Miller 1991; Powell 1928).


From A History of the Fawcetts and Related Families in America by William Bloys Fawcett. Used by permission of Dr. Fawcett.

This book was first published in 1996 and some of the information is quite dated. If you find errors or want to add updates, contact me, and I will add notes to the page.

Copyright © 1996, 2007 by William Bloys Fawcett, Jr. All rights reserved. No copies may be made of this document through any electronic, photocopying or other means without permission of the author.

References on this Site

Mentioned in Other Documents:


no documents

Personal tools

Gauss Index