Rev. Henry Munro[1]

Male 1730 - 1801  (71 years)


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  • Name Henry Munro 
    Prefix Rev. 
    Born 1730  Dingwall, , Ross and Cromarty, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 30 May 1801  Edinburgh, , Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I74426  Alger
    Last Modified 9 Feb 2020 

    Father Robert Munro,   b. Abt 1710,   d. 1746, Dingwall, , Ross and Cromarty, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 36 years) 
    Mother Anne Munro,   b. Abt 1718,   d. Abt 1748  (Age ~ 30 years) 
    Family ID F30060  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Elizabeth,   b. Abt 1732,   d. Dec 1759  (Age ~ 27 years) 
    Married Abt 1759 
    Children 
     1. Elizabeth Munro,   b. 2 Dec 1759, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1845, Montreal, , Qu?bec, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F30059  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Sarah Stockton,   b. Est 1732, Of, Princeton, New Jersey Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1764  (Age ~ 32 years) 
    Married 1 Nov 1763  , , New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Munro,   b. Abt 1764,   d. 1764  (Age ~ 0 years)
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F31793  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 3 Eve Jay,   b. 9 Nov 1728,   d. 7 Apr 1810, Mamaroneck, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Married 31 Mar 1766  Yonkers, Westchester Co., New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Peter Jay Munro,   b. 10 Jan 1767, New York, New York Co., New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1833, New York, New York Co., New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years)
    Last Modified 31 Jul 2015 
    Family ID F31794  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • Shortly after his father's death, when he was sixteen years old, Henry "Harry" entered the University of St. Andrews, where he went through the regular course, and took the usual degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts. He decided upon becoming a clergyman of the Kirk of Scotland, and began the study of theology at Edinburgh. In 1753 he became (the Rev. Mr. Andrew Robinson, minister at Kiltearn, being his "Recommender") a member of the Divinity School of the University of Edinburgh, then under the direction of "Pricipal" Gowdie and Mr. Hamilton. In 1757, he was admitted to Holy Orders, and was immediately appointed Chaplain of the 77th regiment of Highlanders, commanded by the Hon. Col. Archibald Montgomery, afterwards Lord Eglintoun.

      The French and Indian War was raging at that time in America, and the 77th was one of those specially raised for service in the Colonies. In 1757, it was ordered to Charleston, South Carolina, where Harry accompanied it.

      In 1758 the regiment was sent to Philadelphia, to join the expedition under General Forbes against Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh). Forbes left Philadelphia with an army of 8,000 men, in the month of July, and so great were the obstacles to be overcome in the march through the then wilderness of Pennsylvania that he did not reach Fort Duquesne till late in the following November, a period of about four months. The French evacuated the fort the evening before his arrival, and the British commander took quiet possession. He remained but a short time, for, as soon as his forces were sufficiently recruited, he marched back to Philadelphia, in the winter season. Harry was present with his regiment, and underwent all the sufferings and hardships of these long, toilsome, and terribly severe expeditions. The next year he served under General Amherst, in Northern New York, and was present at the taking of Ticonderoga and Crown Point.

      In 1760, the 77th was ordered to Oswego, where Amherst concentrated an army of 10,000 men, for the reduction of Canada. They proceeded by way of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, and arrived before Montreal on the 6th of September in that year. On the 8th, M. de Vaudreuil, the French Commander, capitulated, and with the city surrendered the whole of the French possessions in Canada to his Britannic Majesty. The British immediately entered the city, and Rev. Munro preached a "thanksgiving sermon" on the occasion before the victorious army.

      Immediately after this event the regiment was sent to New York, to embark for Halifax. Detentions occurred, and it was the 20th of November before the troops were all on board and the ships sailed. The weather proved very stormy, and the fleet was soon dispersed. Most of the vessels, however, after long and dangerous passages reached their destination in safety; but that in which Harry's regiment had embarked was driven almost to the coast of Ireland. Provisions becoming scarce, they were put on short allowance, and not being able to make Halifax, the ship's course was altered for the Bahamas, where she at last arrived in a shattered condition, and with all on board nearly in a state of starvation. After remaining in the Islands six weeks the "Greyhound", man of war, was despatched from New York to convey them to Charleston, South Carolina, where they arrived in March, 1761. Here the regiment was ordered to join the expedition under Col. Grant, who was sent with an army of 2,600 men to punish the Cherokee Indians for devastations they had committed in the Colonies of South Carolina and Virginia. After marching a considerable distance into the interior, counter orders were received for the 77th to return to Charleston and embark from New York, to form part of the command of Lord Rollo, who, with a body of 4,000 men, was sent to reduce the Island of Dominica, in the West Indies. This expedition was entirely successful, and shortly after, joining the forces under General Monckton, the regiment aided in the capture of Martinique. Commanding Fort Royal, in that Island, is a high conical hill, called Morne Garnier, upon the summit of which, before the assembled army, Rev. Munro delivered a thanksgiving sermon, in honor of the victory. While in Martinique the troops suffered greatly from the climate, and the sickness and mortality were frightful. Harry did not escape the common lot, and his constitution was so shattered by two different attacks of the yellow fever that when the army was ordered to Havana he obtained leave to return to New York, where he arrived about the close of the year 1762.

      Harry Munro's first wife was a widow of an officer in the 77th Highlanders. Although her name is unknown, it may have been Elizabeth since, when she died in childbirth in 1759, Harry named the baby Elizabeth (Betsy). They were married less than a year.

      About a year after his return to New York he married for his second wife Miss Stockton, of Princeton, of the well-known New Jersey family of that name, and became an inhabitant of that village. He built a house for his residence directly opposite the College, and also purchased a farm of 200 acres in the neighborhood. One reference says she was the widow of a Mr. Morton.

      About this time, his theological views underwent a change, and while endeavoring to satisfy his mind he made the acquaintance of Dr. Auchmuty, then Rector of Trinity Church, New York. The acquaintance ripened into a friendship. Auchmuty was an ardent churchman, and under his influence and by his advice Harry determined not only to unite with, but take orders in, the Church of England.

      With this view, he bade adieu to his wife and family late in the autumn of 1764, and went to New York to embark for England, to be ordained. But on the eve of sailing he was summoned back to Princeton by the sad intelligence of the death of his wife, who had been suddenly seized with a fit and expired almost instantly. She left an infant son only a few weeks old, whom, with his other child, Harry placed under proper care at Burlington, and shortly afterwards embarked for London. But he never saw his son again, as the child only lived about a month after his father's departure from America.

      On 27 Jan 1765, Harry was ordained Deacon, in Park Street Chapel, Grosvenor Square, London, by Dr. Philip Yonge, Bishop of Norwich, acting for Dr. Richard Terrick, Bishop of London. On 10 Feb 1765, the Bishop of Dromore, also acting at the request of Dr. Terrick, admitted him to the Priesthood at a private ordination in the parish church of Kensington. The next day Rev. Munro signed his "declaration of conformity" to the Liturgy of the Church of England, before the Bishop of London, and took out his "license to perform the ministerial office of a Priest, in the Province of New York, in North America."

      Shortly after his ordination, Harry sailed for New York, having been appointed by the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, at the request of Col. Frederick Philipse, the Rev. Mr. Charlton, Dr. Auchmuty, and others, Missionary at Philipsburgh (Yonkers), Westchester County, in that province.

      Harry took charge of the mission at Yonkers immediately upon his arrival from England, and preached in the church for the first time on Whitsunday, 1765. It was understood that Yonkers alone should be his cure, and thus it became in fact, though not in law, a separate parish, of which he was the first Rector. He served for three years when he resigned his charge in early 1768 because of difficulties which had arisin regarding the glebe and salary. Most of his parishioners regreted his loss.

      He was immediately called as Rector to St. Peter's Church in Albany; and at the same time appointed the Venerable Society's Missionary in that city. He began his duties there on 26 Mar 1768. His efforts were not confined to his parish alone. He devoted much of his time and attention to the surrounding country, frequently visiting and preaching at all the settlements from Fort Stanwix to Champlain. He was, in fact, for several years a sort of missionary-general, so to speak, for Northern and Central New York, besides being Rector of "the English church at Albany," as St. Peter's was then termed.

      On 18 Apr 1773, Kings college, New York, later Columbia University, conferred on Rev. Henry Munro the honorary degree of M. A. ad eundem.

      His influence among the Indians, whose language he spoke fluently, was great. He was early appointed their Catechist, and aided by his and their friend, Sir William Johnson, his efforts among them met with much success.

      After he had been Rector of St. Peter's Church about two years, Henry was appointed by the Bishop of London, to be Chaplain to the Fort at Albany.

      At about this time, Henry attempted to settle his Patent in Washington County, called "Munrosfield." The land had been granted to him on 23 Aug 1764 because of his service as Chaplain of the 77th Highlanders. It consisted of 2000 acres in the north part of the township of Hebron. At the time of the grant, he was living in Princeton, New Jersey, and he made no effort to settle his Patent till 1774, when he divided it into farms of about 100 acres each, built a few log houses upon some of them and leased them for terms of 21 years, at an annual rent of one shilling per acre, to Scotch settlers, old soldiers and others including his son-in-law, Donald Fisher.

      It was a beautiful tract lying upon the crest between the valleys of Hudson and Lake Champlain. He built a large log house for himself and spent a portion of the summer each year as long as he remained Rector of St. Peter's, Albany. He is said to have been the only officer of the 77th who tried to settle his tract. Because of the Revolutionary War, the settlement never flourished. He eventually deeded the land to his son, Peter Jay Munro, who finally sold it in about 1800.

      Henry also built a house in Albany. It stood upon a hill which was a little to the south of the spot where the Capitol was later built. It was surrounded by about three acres of land, and commanded a splendid view of the Hudson River and its beautiful valley.

      He married for his third wife, on 31 Mar 1766, Miss Eve Jay, eldest child of Mr. Peter Jay, of New York and his wife, Mary Van Cortland. Eve was the sister of Sir James Jay, M.D., and Chief Justice John Jay. They had one son, Peter Jay Munro who became an eminent citizen of New York, a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1821, and one of the most distinguished members of the bar of New York.

      As the Revolutionary War approached, an organization called the "friends of America" formed in Albany. On 1 May 1775, they elected a "Committee of Safety, Protection and Correspondence" which soon began arresting and imprisoning loyalists among their fellow citizens, and confining them in the fort. Because he had official access to the fort, in virtue of his Chaplaincy, it was Harry's habit to often visit these unfortunate men, and to render them all the assistance in his power. In spite of threatenings and danger to himself, he frequently read prayers and preached to the prisoners. This conduct, along with his avowed loyalty to the British Government and steadfast refusal to countenance "the friends of America," brought down on him the vengeance of the Committee. His church doors were shut against him, and soon after, at about the end of 1776, he himself was seized and imprisoned in the fort. His wife and son, who shared his political beliefs, fled to her father's house at Rye, Westchester County, where they were in comparative safety.

      Henry remained confined in Albany until Oct 1777, when, with some fellow prisoners, he found means to escape by night. He somehow obtained a pass from the American General Gates to pass through American lines and go to the British post on Diamond Island in Lake George commanded by Major Aubrey. He arrived in great distress and destitute. Harry joined the British army at Ticonderoga, and soon after, passed into Canada, where he was appointed Deputy Chaplain of the 53rd and 31st regiments. He served until May 1778 when he obtained Sir Guy Carleton's permission to resign in order to go to Europe to attend to his private affairs. He was held in great esteem while acting as chaplain.

      Henry sailed from Quebec and landed at Portsmouth, England on 12 Sep 1778, reaching London on the 21st. It appears to have been his intention to stay in England until the war had been won by England and then return to live permanently in America. When the American Colonies were victorious and gained their independence by the peace of 1783, he retired to Scotland where he determined to spend the remainder of his days.

      While in London, he preached occasionally in the city and its vicinity, but employed his time chiefly in literary pursuits, particularly in the study of the Hebrew and Italian languages, to which he devoded himself with great assiduity. His learning and abilities attracted attention soon after his return to England and on 13 Jan 1782, the Univiersity of St. Andrews, his Alma Mater, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity.

      Mrs. Munro, on finding that her husband could not return to America, and urged by her father's family, declined to join him in Scotland, and he finally consented that she and their son should remain at Mr. Jay's in Westchester. According to Henry's letters, he and Eve had not been compatible. After her son grew up, Mrs. Munro lived with him till her death on 7 Apr 1810.

      Harry lived for a few years in Stirling, where he was admitted "a burgess and guild-brother," on 27 Sep 1787.

      In about 1791, he developed a paralysis which caused him to give up all active duties. When this happened, he moved to Edinburgh and lived there until his death in 1801. Harry's mental powers were not affected till a very short time before his death and he continued his reading and study almost to the very last.

      He was a man of ability and learning, a fine classical scholar, and versed in French, Italian, Hebrew and Erse, while his theological attainments were good. Quick in perception, he took strong views on most subjects, and always acted in accordance with his convictions, though sometimes to his own detriment, In person he was large and well formed, and in his carriage graceful; kind hearted and indulgent to his family; to all he was affable and courteous, though he possessed that natural warmth of temperament which is said to be characteristic of most Caledonians.

      He was buried in the west side of the church yard of St. Cuthbert's Parish, in Edinburgh. The monument erected to his memory bears the following inscription:

      Rev. Harry Munro, D. D
      Rector of St. Peter's Church, Albany, New York
      born in 1730
      Died May 30th, 1801

      According to the notes at the end of the Fisher reference, there may be a missing generation between Henry and his supposed father, Robert. There it says that Robert was Henry's grandfather.

      ****************************

      The following is from "Clan Munro" compiled by Alan McNie, published in Jedburgh, Scotland. It is from the chapter entitled "Some Clan Notables".

      Munro, Henry (1730-1801) A clergyman born in Scotland, Munro became an army chaplain serving in America. He changed to Church of England in 1765 and became a missionary in the New York frontier with considerable influence among the Mohawks. He was imprisoned for Loyalist sympathies, escaped and eventually returned to Scotland.

      Ref: Clan Munro files
      - Elder, Charlotte
      - Guilford, Joan S.
      - Fisher, Arthur H. - "NY Gen. & Biog. Rec." vol IV, #3

      References:

      (1) "The Munro Eagle" - number 27 - summer 1997-1998 - p. 27-28 in "United Empire Loyalists of New York" by Henry & Vallena Munro

      (2) Clan Munro files - Davis, Harriette - "The Munros" - undated and author unknown

      (3) Clan Munro files - Davis, Harriette - notes from "Loyalists of the American Revolution" by Lorenzo Sabine - 1864

      Compiled and edited by Allen Alger, Genealogist, Clan Munro Association, USA [2]

  • Sources 
    1. [S416] Clan Munro Database, Clan Munro Association, USA.

    2. [S866] Clan Munro files - Allen, Daniel Thomas, Daniel Thomas Allen, Membership application for Daniel T. Allen dated 7 Jun 1999 (Reliability: 3).


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