Essons of Logie Coldstone and Cromar. An overview.
The family were almost always called Easson in this area, until the late 1700’s. A list of farm names where they lived, albeit far from complete, includes the following.
Balnacraig, Bearhillock, Belwade, Bog, Brankum, Charlestown, Coldstone, Corrachree, Daugh, Davoch, Bogstone and Clashnettie in Strathdon, Drumgask, Glebe of Logie, Loanhead Knocksoul, Melgum, Melgin, Mill of Corrachree, Millhead, Mosstown – Tulloch. Monandavan, Upper and Nether Balnacraig, Upper and Nether Ruthven, Newtown, Upper and Nether Ruthven, Windseye and Waulkmill.
First records for the area show Eassons living in a handful of farms in a small area, just to the North West of Tarland.
Patrick Esson was recorded at Waulkmill in 1675. Waulkmill, as its name implies was a woollen mill, burnt down or destroyed in the early 1900’s. Close to this spot Eassons were recorded in the 1696 “List of Pollable People” at the three neighbouring farms of Blackmill, Newmill and Millhead, and a couple of miles away at Mill of Kinaldie. A John Esson was recorded as living on the Laird of Skene’s land, possibly at the Newton, close to Kinaldie.
There would have been more than the tax list named, including family members, sub tenants and landless workers. The small group of farms where they were first reported seems interesting however, and leaves little or no doubt that these people were related.
The first baptism of an Esson in Logie Coldstone was recorded in 1719 when a John Esson had a son called Peter. John Esson had more children, and family members remained here until a later John Esson and his wife Mary (ne Forbes) left the place in 1874 to take on a public house in Aberdeen at 17 Castle Street, the place today of Castle Bar and Portals Bar. Some returned to Millhead itself later as workersm and some were at Millhead Cottage up until the 1900’s. Our family line lived at Millhead for the best part of 200 years.
With family sizes often of five or more children, the population grew and by 1750, around 250 baptisms were recorded for 74 families at over 30 farms in this alone.
Millhead in 2015
Millhead is on Melgum Road where the Millhead burn runs down to join Glaick burn on its way to Tarland. The name Millhead could have had one of two origins. Derived from Gaelic it could have meant hill of the fold (meall cuid). Prior to the mid to late 1700 it was more often called Milnhead however, which suggests its name was of English or rather Scots origin and associated with milling.
Typically, farms had to have a way to drive their own mill. If there was an adequate water course, that would be used to drive a water wheel. When the volume of water was not great enough a dam was often built to store up water overnight to be used during the day. That was the case at Millhead. Millhead burn also fed water to Blackmill and Newmill down stream, albeit via Millhead.
Neither name, Milnhead nor Millhead are included in the 1696 List of Pollable People For Tax Purposes in Aberdeenshire (Volume 1)
. Almost certainly it was added by accident as “Loanhead” as Milnhead farm certainly existed at this time. being visible in earlier records. The house and buildings behind would have accommodated a number of families and singe workers who were everything from sub tenants to single landless workers.