The Hannas

Phillip King Moore (on Moore Family Tree) married Nancy Hanna. Through Nancy Hanna we are related to the Hannas of Hannastown in Pennsylvania. Hanna’s Town, founded in 1773 and named for its founder Robert Hanna, acted as the first Seat of Westmoreland County and the first English court west of the Allegheny Mountains. The town was an oasis for travelers, settlers and those seeking justice and order in the often chaotic environment of the western Pennsylvania colonial frontier.

The town and its inhabitants played a major role in the armed conflict between Pennsylvania and Virginia for control of the area now recognized as southwestern Pennsylvania.

Hanna’s Town was active in various issues associated with the Revolutionary War. The Hanna’s Town Resolves were written and signed here in May, 1775. This document is one of the most direct challenges to British authority preceding the Declaration of Independence. Before most other colonial communities took a stand, Westmoreland County residents proclaimed their willingness to take drastic measures to maintain and defend their rights against British oppression. Hanna’s Town was an important center for the recruitment of militia for the western campaigns against the British in Detroit and their Native Americans allies. In one of the final battles of the war, Hanna’s Town was attacked and burned on July 13, 1782 by a raiding party of Indians and their British allies. The town never recovered, and the county seat was moved to Greensburg in 1786.

The town site’s subsequent conversion to farmland in the early 1800’s preserved it as an archaeological time capsule of 1770 frontier life during the waning British colonial period and the emerging American republic, and it remains an almost unique archaeological resource in this area.

The village consists of the reconstructed Hanna Tavern/Courthouse and three vintage late 18th century log houses, a reconstructed Revolutionary era fort and blockhouse and a wagon shed that houses an authentic late 18th century wagon.


All Hannas are descended from the Hannas of Sorbie Castle in Scotland. I am pasting information from an article I found in the internet:

AN HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF THE ORIGINS OF THE FAMILY HANNA GENERALLY        by Theodore Allison Hanna       A quote from the writing of the Reverend James A. Mac C. Hanna, in his book “Hanna of Castle Sorbie and Descendants”, seems a very appropriate way to start this historical outline of our origin, history and descendancy: “The Hanna family is so ancient that its earlier years are hidden in the mists and moors of the homeland. We have many reliable records from the 13th century to the present date that this Celtic family has been an honorable one in every phase of human activity. What, indeed, a great name and heritage to pass on to our descendants!”.       For more complete history of our family’s development through the ages, this writer refers to reader to the above publication, and the works of Stewart Hannay Francis, “the Hannays of Sorbie”.   This was never intended to be a scholarly work, but merely an outline to familiarize the reader with the origins of his race, heritage and the background leading to the descendancy of our particular line of the family Hanna. Both of the above named publications are available from the Clan Hannay Society, Great Britain; The Clan Hanna Societies in the US, and are registered with the US Library of Congress, for copies of the manuscripts.       Hanna family legend holds that one Patrick A’hannay, who lived around the time of 1150 AD, was the first known to use the surname Hanna. He is therefore assumed to be, and is accepted as the progenitor of our race. He would have been the son of the “Hanna”, the last man to have a given name only. Further identification to have been his occupation, place of birth or abode, or some physical characteristic.       There is earlier record of a priest named Hanna, who may have been a Bishop, who was alive around the year 1098 AD. The thought that he may be one of our ancestors is extremely dim, though quite possible. There is a long history of our men in the clergy.       The first appearances, of record, of the name is a document know as the “Ragman’s Roll”, of 1296 AD. When England’s King Edward I had his Scottish Barons swear fealty to him by signing this roll of landed gentry. Gilbert De Annethe and Gilbert De Hannethe were signators of record. They were the owners of record of the lands of Sorbie (about the year 1250 AD), in the county of Wigton, Halloway, in southern Scotland.   The two Gilberts may have been father and eldest son. The son would have been heir.   The thirteenth century seem to be the time when surnames came into common use in Scotland.   Our family is considered to be of the Pictish/Gaelic origin. The Picts and Gaels were both Celtic (p. Keltic) peoples.   The Celts originated in the Alpine headwaters of the Danube River in central Europe more that 8500 years ago. The Celts at that time had already developed the oldest European culture that has continued through the ages to the present; predating the Greek and Roman civilizations by thousands of years. They spread eastward to central Anatolia (now known as Turkey) and were known, in biblical times, as the Galatians. These people were well known to the ancient Greeks who called them Keltoi, their word for barbarian.       The first human settlements in Scotland date back some 8500 years. These were pre-Celtic, stone-age peoples, dark skinned much like the Mediterranean people. These first settlers were food gatherers (foragers) and possibly fishermen. Later, came the Celts, with the discovery of metals and the development of alloys with which to make tools for clearing the dense forests, hunting and still later, farming societies came into being.       The Celts spread westward across what is now southern Germany, Belgium, northern Italy, France, and much of Spain and Portugal, and had settled in the British Isles long before the roman Empire arose. There are ancient cairns (stone burial chambers) located on the Hannay estate at Kirkdale, built by the Celts, that date back some 3500 years.   Celtic migrations to, and settlement of, Britain commenced at least 1000 years ago. They conducted trade with Greece and the Phoenicians and other Mediterranean civilizations. Timothy, in his pre-apostolic days, traded with the Belgic tribes of Britain, for tin to be alloyed with copper for the making of bronze.       As the Roman Empire began to emerge, Rome had much contact with Gaul, as the Romans called the lands to the north. The Romans used the word that the Celts used to refer to themselves. There were times of peaceful trade; and times of warfare. Rome eventually conquered Gaul including Britain, with the exception of the Caledonian (Scottish) highlands. The Pictish tribe that the Romans met and conquered in Galloway were known as the Novanti. After several attempts to conquer the Highland Picts; Rome gave up in despair and built a wall, the Antonine wall built by and named for the future Emperor of Rome, North of a line drawn from present day Glasgow to Edinburgh, to seal the barbaric Picts out of the roman Empire.   Many years later, Hadrian (later Emperor of Rome) gave up trying to control even the southern Picts. He built the wall, named after him, which runs along the present border between Scotland and England. Galdus, the last Pictish king to do battle against the Roman Legions, is know to be buried on the Hannay lands at Kirkdale.   Pict, by the way, is the Roman word for, the northern Britons, meaning picture, as these people tattooed their bodies with a blue dye.   At about the time The Empire was commencing its decline, the Irish of the kingdom of Dalriada, in Ulster (Northern Ireland), started their invasions of the Hebrides Islands, the Western Highlands, Strathclyde and Galloway; to establish the Kingdom of New Dalriada. These Irish invaders were the Gaels who make up the Gaelic part of our Pictish/Gaelic ancestry.       These Gaels were named Scotii (meaning thieves) by the Romans. They eventually conquered the Picts and the new Kingdom of Scotland came into being. The Picts had been driven eastward into the Grampian highlands, where their culture and language eventually died out. The only thing we know of their culture today is their wonderful artistic designs of stylized animal and knotwork graphics and sculptures.       The Empire of Rome declined as the Germanic hordes came out of central Asia and eventually took over all of the territory that once was Gaul, with the exception of Brittany in northern France and the area in present day Spain known as Gallicia. Ireland, in all of this, managed to escape these invasions with the exception of the coming of the Gaels from Spain, many centuries earlier.       The Germanic tribes, Angles and Saxons, invaded and conquered most of southern Britain, including parts of southeastern Scotland, to establish Angleland (English) language. Celtica had been reduced to Wales, Cornwall, and most of Scotland, in Britain; the Isle of Man, Ireland; Brittany and Gallicia, on the continent.       In the second Century AD, St. Ninian, a Briton, founded his mission, Candida Casa, at the Isle of Whithorn, just a few short miles south from the Estates at Sorbie. It was the first Christian Church established on Scottish soil. An early outpost of the ancient Celtic Church, it later was adopted into the Roman Catholic Church. Pilgrimages to the shrine at Whithorn were made by Royalty and the faithful for more than a millennium thereafter.   In family lore, the Hannas were firmly established in Galloway in the ninth century AD.   It was in the ninth and tenth centuries that the Vikings from present day Denmark and Norway, conducted their bloody raids and began to establish settlements. The Vikings controlled the Scottish northern island groups of the Shetlands and Orkneys, the western Hebrides Islands; settlements all around the Scottish, Irish and English coasts.   The first cities in the Celtic lands of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man were established by the Vikings. The Celts never established any know cities until after their conquering by peoples of other cultures. The Celts were, and still prefer to be agrarian and pastoral by nature, whereas the Mediterranean and Germanic peoples are more urbane. This is probably the reason that the Celtic peoples have declined in numbers over the centuries. Although a warrior race, with few exception, did they ever establish any community, over a small tribe, with sufficient numbers, to repel a conquering force, or; create a conquering force, of their own, to ensure their own survival.   In the eleventh century, through a series of bloody wars, England was defeated at the battle of Hastings in the year 1066 AD by William the Conqueror, the Bastard Duke of Normandy. The ensuing Norman kings granted large tracts of land to those Norman knights and Peers who swore fealty to the crown. Their Baronages included lands anywhere in the British Isles, not just England.   As a result, the de Vetereponts, a powerful Norman family, acquired the lands of Sorbie and are the first owners of record, in the ancient province of Galloway in southwestern Scotland, the heartland of our Hanna Family.   How the Sorbie lands came into the possession of the Hannay family is unknown, but through the passage of many events that are beyond the scope of this outline, it did come to pass (refer to Stuart Hannay Francis’ book, “The Hannays of Sorbie”). It is known for many years the family in ownership called themselves Sorbie or de Sorbie, after the name of the estate. This is still a common practice today. However a family named Sorby did come into being, who today claim attachment to Sorbie tower. They may well have become the Hannays who were the next owners, while some retained the Sorby name. Documents dated in 1488 refer to Odo Sorbie, while his sons are clearly shown as Hannays.   Odo de Sorbie is the first known Hannay to own the Sorbie estate, and from him an unbroken line can be traced to the breakup of the Sorbie branch and then on to the present Kirkdale branch. Which is now the Chiefly line of the family.   Up to the mid 1600’s the Hannays were a most powerful influence in Wigstonshire ( shire = County). They held sway over Wigtown and the Machers (from Gaelic machair = pastureland). In fact, for many years they were known as the Machers Hannay, which cover a large area of the Wigton peninsula on the south coast of Galloway.


At this date, there is a map of the descendants of the Hannays of Sorbie.

Below are the ruins of Castle Sorbie.


Ancient Clan Hannay Tartan

Our coat of arms



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