by John McPherson 2015

The McPherson families in Hopeman which are known by the bye/nickname of Peddie, Teen or Jonak originated when William McPherson and his wife Isobel Moir or More settled in Hopeman during 1805 from the Ardersier and Petty parishes to the east of Inverness.

William was born on the 10th Dec 1768 in Fishertown in the Ardersier registry parish and he was the eldest son of William McPherson and Jannet McIntosh and one of eight siblings. Whilst researching this period there was another William McPherson born during 1768 in Petty parish to John McPherson & Elsbet Fraser which made it difficult to know who were his parents, however, I recently received a copy of the 1806 Estates Registry for Hopeman where it mentions William McPherson (Jnr) leasing land for two houses in Hopeman confirming that William and Jannet was his parents.

Parents William McPherson and Jannet McIntosh married on the 19th March 1760 with William noted as being a fisher in Campbelltown and both being from the Petty Register area. William was born on 23 July 1738 in Torbreke which at the time was a farm south of Inverness and his parents were John McPherson born cirra 1705 and Isobel Grant born cirra 1708 who were married on the 30 Jan 1728 at Inverness Parish.

McPherson family Tree

mcphersonfamilyhistoryGoing back to the William McPherson (Jnr) who came to Hopeman along with his wife Isobel Moir they had six children all of whom were born in the Ardersier/Petty. I have found their headstone which is located in St Peters Churchyard on the Duffus to Gordonstoun road not far from Hopeman and it is the earliest headstone I have on my family. It is also a very elaborate stone for the period. Three generations are remembered in St Peters churchyard, the next two in the Old cemetery at Duffus, and the most recent in the extension to the Duffus cemetery.


William McPherson & Isobel Moir

By John McPherson Seaman Hopeman in
Memory of his Father
William McPherson who
Died March 13th 1831 aged 63 years
And his spouse
Isobell Moir who died
Oct 13th 1833 Aged 78 years
Here also lies Janet McPherson
Who died 23rd November 1873 Aged 74 years
And John McPherson her husband who died 29th April 1874 Aged 75 years.


johnmcpJohn McPherson sitting on the table stone of the first two generations (as above) with the 3rd generation on the upright stone behind. – William McPherson (1820-1863) and his wife Mary Davidson (1822-1907)

Mary Davidson was known as Granny Sai.


At this time it was common in Scotland to have large families as parents needed many children to provide support and income for the family. The mortality rate for children was high and should a child die then it was common for the next born to be given that child’s name. Children were also called after a prominent person such as the Laird who owned the land where they lived and there is a large red granite monument in the old cemetery in Duffus with the name Archibald Duff McPherson, who was named after the landowner or “laird” Gordon Duff. It is worth noting that this is not his gravestone as he was buried at St Peters Kirk and this monument is the only one ever erected for a native of Hopeman. See article on “Archibald Duff McPherson” included within “Hopeman 1805-2005” book as it makes interesting reading. To make matters worse it was customary to name the oldest son after his fathers, father (grandfather) then the second born whether boy or girl after the mother’s parents, the third would be after his father or mother and so on. With this is was easy to tell who was the oldest and who was the youngest as many had the same family name which in our case were Daniel, William, James, John, Mary and Anne to name a few. As families expanded within the village there were many people with the same name and in a small community which was relatively isolated and with little outside influence it must have been very confusing as to who was who. It was further compounded as they generally married within the community where McPherson’s married other McPherson’s and there was a bit of inter-breeding through marrying cousins, etc. Nae muckle wonder weer daft!

To distinguish between the various family groups, family nicknames were used. Today (2015) there are still McPherson families with these nicknames who may well all tie in somewhere if you go back far enough. These nicknames are not now used as children are given more modern names and couples have smaller families, however, they did continued until my father’s generation and up to around 1970. I am named after my grandfather and my brother Robert after our mother’s father. It was all very confusing and as an example during the 1960’s there were six D. McPherson’s living in Mid Street, which caused chaos for the postman unless he was a Houpman loon, which John ‘the post’ Ralph was when I was young.

McPherson family nicknames included: – Peddie; Jonak; Teen; Jeem; Topp; Toppach; Daich; Dole; Dooach; Erch; Freens; Henny, Bell.

From the original William McPherson who came to Hopeman in 1805 there were three generations and many McPherson siblings before our family nickname of ‘Peddie’ came about. It was from William and Mary’s family and during the period 1870-1880 that three of their sons were given by-names to distinguish them from other McPherson families. Their son John McPherson was nicknamed ‘Jonak’, William McPherson nicknamed ‘Teen’ and Daniel McPherson nicknamed ‘Peddie’.


  • ‘Peddie’ – Daniel McPherson (1854-1925) nicknamed Peddie after a man called Peddie who was a house builder and roof thatcher from Cummingston. Apparently Daniel as a boy spent considerable time with Peddie as he collected reeds at the beach for house roof thatch. Daniel tying the reeds into bundles. He was always late for meals and when his mother asked where he was the reply was always ‘with Peddie’ His mother gave him the name Peddie and it stuck with him and his ancestors to distinguish his family from the others. They were called Jock Peddie, Jeem Peddie, Wull Peddie, etc
  • ‘Teen’ – William McPherson (1855-1935) was known by the name ‘Bull’ however when he married a girl called Christina McKenzie he and his family were given the nickname ‘Teen’. Descendants of him were called Jock Teen, Alex Teen, etc.
  • ‘Jonak’ – John McPherson (1851-1936) was called Jonak and again his descendants took that by-name. Jock Jonak, Alex Jonak etc.


My grandfather’s name was John McPherson and being the son of ‘Peddie’ he was known as Jock Peddie. Had one asked for John McPherson they would not know who he was as there were so many John McPherson’s in the village.

During the 1800’s when someone died there was a period of mourning of approximately three days. The coffin was then carried from Hopeman to Duffus cemetery approximately two miles away on the shoulders of eight men using a direct line route to Duffus creating a path through what is now fields. Hymns would be sung by the entourage as they slowly walked on taking turns to carry the coffin. It has been passed down that on at least one occasion a body was being carried to Duffus during heavy snow showers and the entourage could not continue. The coffin was laid to the side of the path and covered in snow until the weather conditions improved some time later. It was also said that the body of a fisherman’s wife was kept cold in the Ice House at Hopeman until he returned home from the herring fishery in Great Yarmouth around two weeks later. There was no communications in those days and he did not know about her death until he arrived home with the boat.