A Possible Steel Lineage

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The Rev. David Steele (1803-1887), brother of Stewart Steel, reported, in Daniel S. Durrie's Steele genealogy (1862), that "the family have a tradition, that during the persecution by the bloody house of Stuart, three brothers were forced to flee from Scotland and settled in Ireland. This family descended from one of them." Later, however, after a visit to Scotland in 1864, Steele must have learned something more specific. In the 1900 History of Adams County it is reported, doubtless on Rev. David Steele's authority, that his father David Steel was a fourth-generation descendant of Captain John Steel of Lesmahagow, Scotland. The problem remains of verifying and tracing this descent. A John Steel, great-grandson of Captain John Steel, was born in 1735. Did he emigrate to Ireland? Was he the father of David Steel? If so, their lineage, down to the present, would appear as follows:

  1. Robert Steel, of Astonhead, Avondale, died 22 June 1679, buried at Strathaven, Lanarkshire; married Elizabeth Pate.
  2. Captain John Steel of Waterhead, dispossessed fugitive, 1679-1688, died ca. 1720, buried at Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire; married Marion Lean.
  3. John Steel of Waterhead and Skellyhill, born ca. 1677, married Katherine Lean.
  4. John Steel, born 1695 in Lesmahagow, married, in 1711, Helen Paterson.
  5. John Steel, born 1735, possibly emigrated to Ireland; if so, married Sarah Stewart, settled at Fannett, Donegal, died 1804 at Upper Creevagh, near Londonderry.
  6. David Steel, born ca. 1761 at Fannett, County Donegal, Ireland, died February 1805, Altaghaderry, Donegal; married Sarah Gailey of Killylastin.
  7. Stewart Steel, born 4 August 1800 at Upper Creevagh, emigrated 1818, died 4 May 1861, Blairsville, Pennsylvania; married Myrtilla Bishop, née Sterrett (1806-1876).
  8. William Alexander Steel, born 11 October 1836, Blairsville, Pennsylvania, died 28 March 1879, Joliet, Illinois, married, 16 January 1862, Frances Louise Sanger (1842-1880).
  9. Sanger Steel, born 6 April 1863, Joliet, Illinois, died 10 January 1920, Hornellsville, New York, married, 9 May 1888, Emma Oledine Demmond (1866-1949).
  10. Sanger Bright Steel, born 14 June 1889, Joliet, Illinois, died 12 May 1927, New York City, married, 28 December 1914, Marion Parsons Warren (1886-1924).
  11. Sanger Bright Steel, born 19 March 1919, New York City, died 19 March 1983, Schenectady, New York, married, 2 April 1942, Madeleine Reagan (1921-2008).
  12. Their sons David Warren Steel, William Reagan Steel, and Robert Sanger Steel (1961-2019).
  13. The latest generation is represented by William's son Nathan Sanger Steel, and Robert's twin sons Sanger Alexander Steel and William Wenman Steel.

Details are conjectural, partly suggested by Robert S. McLeish, Archivist, Lesmahagow Parish Historical Association, from information in old parish registers. David Wenman of New York, grandfather of the twins listed above in the last generation, also provided valuable assistance. According to another branch of the family, David Steel was only three generations, not four, removed from Capt. John Steel, and his father John Steel was born in Ireland in 1735. This would suggest that a son of Capt. John Steel emigrated to Ireland. Unfortunately no sons of John Steel have been identified who might have emigrated.

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