Descendants of Andrew Gawn, Halftown, Co. Antrim:
Born 1777


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The Elusive Colonel
My great-aunt Sarah Mary Gawn always related that we, the Co. Antrim Gawns were descended from an army Colonel and he was given a land grant in Ireland. My research, so far, has not found a Colonel Gawn in the early 1700's to support this claim.
Some information relating to possible ancestors involved in Army service has come from correspondence sent to me by Robert McConnell of New Zealand in which he included extracts that he had gained from "English Army Lists and Commissions Registers" from 1684 to 1709.
These lists show that Alexander Gawen was commissioned as an Ensign in the Royal Scots Regiment of Foot on 1 May 1684.  On 28 February, 1685, he became a Second Lieutenant and held this rank until 1688 when he was deprived of his commission as a ringleader in the mutiny of the regiment in December that year. This serious state of affairs was a result of the revolution then taking place in England whereby James II was ousted from the throne and replaced by William of Orange and Mary. The regiment refused to recognise the authority of the Prince of Orange and his generals.
Having received orders to embark for the Netherlands, to replace the Dutch troops which were in England, the regiment mutinied, and, seizing the money appointed for their pay, marched with four pieces of cannon towards Scotland.  Several regiments were sent in pursuit and 500 men and 20 officers of the Royal Scots Regiment were taken prisoner in Lincolnshire.  Three or four of the ringleaders were dismissed from the service and the remainder were pardoned.
 In his book The Lowland Regiments, Sir Herbert Maxwell states:
“Being hopelessly outnumbered and surrounded, they surrendered; the ringleaders, were convicted of high treason at Bury assizes; but King William, who is said to have expressed a strong admiration for the loyalty of the regiment to James, only cashiered Lieut. Gawen, who had headed the rising”.
This incident was the occasion of the Mutiny Act, the basis of our present Army Act.
This was not the end of Alexander’s army career as is seen in two House of Lords Reports in 1708 and 1709. The first From: House of Lords Journal Volume 18: 14 December 1708 is as follows: Sir J. Gray versus D. Hamilton & al.
"Upon reading the Petition and Appeal of Sir James Gray Baronet, from a Sentence or Decree of the Lords of Council of (fn. *) Session in North Britain, on the Behalf of Charles Earl of Salkirk, and the Affirmance thereof, the One and Thirtieth of July One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eight, in Causes between the said Sir James Gray and James Duke of Hamilton, and between the said Charles Earl of Salkirk, James Duke of Hamilton, and Sir James Gray, and Alexander Gawne, touching the Payment of One Thousand Pounds, and Interest, therein mentioned; and praying, "That the said Sentence or Decree, and the Affirmation thereof, may be repealed and set aside; and that the said James Duke of Hamilton Charles Earl of Salkirk, and Alexander Gawne, may put in their Answers to the said Appeal:

It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the said James Duke of Hamilton, Charles Earl of Salkirk, and Alexander Gawne, may have a Copy of the said Appeal; and do put in their Answer or respective Answers thereunto, in Writing, on or before Tuesday the Five and Twentieth Day of January next, at Eleven a Clock in the Forenoon."
The second report is in The 'House of Lords Journal Volume 18: 25 January 1709', Journal of the House of Lords: volume 18: 1705-1709. It reads as follows: Sir J. Gray versus D. Hamilton & al.
The House being informed, "That the Duke of Hamilton, and the Earl of Silkirk, and Captain Gawn, were, by Order of this House, to put in their Answer to Sir James Gray's Appeal this Day; and that the Earl of Silkirk is on the Road from Scotland; and that Sir James Gray desires they may have a further Day, for answering to his Appeal:"
"It is Ordered, by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, That the Duke of Hamilton, the Earl of Silkirk, and Captain Gawen, have hereby Time allowed them, for answering thereunto, until Monday the Seventh Day of February next, at Eleven a Clock."
Sir Herbert Maxwell also recorded that a “Robert Gawne was commissioned as an ensign in the Royal Scots Regiment of Foot in April, 1707.  In 1712 Robert became a Lieutenant and in 1738 a Captain in which rank he was serving in 1740”.
It could be that he gained further promotion and became a Colonel before he retired. A possible birth date for this Robert would have been about 1690. This would make him a possible candidate to be the father of John, possibly born in 1720 or later,  and the unnamed Gawn, buried in Kilbride, who, we know, was born in 1737.

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