James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk
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James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk

The Earl of Southesk

Portrait of James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk.jpg
James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk. by Richard James Lane. lithograph, 1861 © National Portrait Gallery, London
Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire

Sir Thomas Burnett, Bt
The Earl of Kintore
Personal details
James Carnegie

(1827-11-16)November 16, 1827
Edinburgh, Scotland
DiedFebruary 21, 1905(1905-02-21) (aged 77)
Angus, Scotland
Lady Catherine Hamilton Noel
(m. 1849; died 1855)

Lady Susan Catherine Mary Murray
(m. 1860)
ParentsSir James Carnegie, 5th Baronet
Charlotte Lysons
EducationEdinburgh Academy
Alma materRoyal Military Academy Sandhurst
OccupationExplorer, poet

James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk KT DL (16 November 1827 - 21 February 1905) was a Scottish nobleman, explorer and poet.

Early life

Born in Edinburgh, on 16 November 1827, Southesk was the son of Sir James Carnegie, 5th Baronet and Charlotte Lysons, daughter of the Reverend Daniel Lysons.[1]

Through his great-great-great grandfather, who was the fourth son of David Carnegie, 1st Earl of Southesk, James was the heir to the earldom of Southesk and the lordship of Carnegie. The fifth earl was involved in the Jacobite rising of 1715 and was attainted, with his titles and estates forfeited. However, in 1855 Sir James Carnegie obtained a reversal of his kinsman's attainder by Act of Parliament and became the ninth Earl of Southesk.[1]

He attended the Edinburgh Academy, received his military training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and in 1845 joined the 92nd Regiment of Foot, before transferring to the Grenadier Guards the next year, with whom he served for three years. In 1849, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire, a position he continued to hold until 1856, when he sold his lands in Kincardineshire.[1]


On 30 January 1849, he succeeded as the 6th Baronet Carnegie, of Pittarrow, co. Kincardine in the Baronetage of Nova Scotia. On 2 July 1855, after the original precedence by reversal by Act of Parliament of the Act of Attainder, he succeeded as the 9th Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird, the 9th Lord Carnegie of Kinnaird and Leuchars, and the 9th Earl of Southesk, all in the Peerage of Scotland.[1]

On 7 December 1869, he was created 1st Baron Balinhard, of Farnell, Forfar in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Forfarshire.[2]

1859 North American expedition

Plains grizzly bear and plains bison
James, Earl of Southesk

In 1859, after the death of his wife, the Earl was advised that to improve his health he should travel to a place where he could live an open-air life and hunt. In 1859, at the age of 32, he embarked on a trip to the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) trading area, which later became western Canada.[3]

Carnegie wrote that the reason for the expedition was to, "travel in some part of the world where good sport could be met with among the larger animals, and where, at the same time, I might recruit my health by an active open-air life in a healthy climate."

-- James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk

Southesk left Liverpool on 15 April 1859 on a Cunard paddle-wheeler called the Africa for North America. Eventually, he ended up in St. Paul, Minnesota, the jumping-off point for his expedition, and then continued on north to Fort Garry, the HBC's western headquarters in the Red River Colony. In June, Southesk, headed out west and over the next seven months, the expedition travelled more than 4,000 kilometres across the northern prairies to the Rocky Mountains. The plan was to head west out of Fort Garry into Rupert's Land, to hunt bears and bison. He arrived at Fort Edmonton on 1 August.[4] At the fort he paused to buy horses, hired a Métis guide called Antoine Blandoine and built enough pack saddles to haul his outfit into the mountains west of the future site of Cadomin to pursue bighorn sheep. The journey, in early September, took the expedition up the Athabasca River to the McLeod River and finally, the Medicine Tent River, noting that he was now in country that, "no European had ever seen, where bears and wild sheep were certain to be abundant." The expedition then crossed over Southesk Pass, to the Kootenay Plains of the North Saskatchewan River valley, in present-day Alberta. The expedition followed the Siffleur River, crossed over the Pipestone Pass, and followed the Pipestone River to the Bow River. After camping near Cascade Mountain, the Earl nearly crossed paths with another explorer, James Hector, at a time when there were very few Europeans in the Canadian Rockies.[5] On the expedition, the Earl of Southesk climbed a mountain, located 6 km north of Mount Southesk and erected a cairn on top that can still be seen today. He wrote in his journal, "I am the first European who has visited this valley, and if I might have the geographic honour of giving my name to some spot of earth, I should choose the mountain near which the two rivers rise."[6]

For the expedition he employed a number of Métis guides and scouts: James McKay, John McKay, George Klyne, John "Piscan" Munroe, Baptiste La Grace, James "Little Dog" Short, Antoine Blandion,[clarification needed] Pierre Desnomme, Thomas Arinwakena, and Duncan Robertson.[7] These men were experienced buffalo hunters. During this trip which took him west to Fort Edmonton and into the Rocky Mountains he commissioned and collected several Métis and aboriginal artifacts.[3]

While on his trip, the Earl received considerable support from the HBC. HBC Governor Sir George Simpson helped the Earl arrange for guides, supplies and horses. He gave the Earl a map and instructed HBC employees to show him "every attention".[3]

In 1875 he wrote, Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains, which describes his travels.

An exhibit dedicated to the Earl's prairie and mountain trip, including a life-sized statue of a large plains grizzly bear he killed while on a bison hunt on the nearby prairie,[8] is at Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre in Herschel, Saskatchewan.[9]

The Southesk Collection at the Royal Alberta Museum

Bust of the Earl, by William Grant Stevenson

Throughout the 1859 Canadian expedition, Southesk collected objects made by First Nations and Métis people whom he met in the course of his travels. The artifacts returned home with Southesk to Kinnaird Castle, the family estate in Scotland where they remained for the next 146 years, until 2006, when the earl's descendants put them up for auction at Sotheby's in New York.

The Royal Alberta Museum purchased many of the items put up for sale. for $1.1 million.[4] Although relatively small, the Southesk collection is historically significant given that objects from the northern Plains dating to the 1850s are rare and that many of the artifacts are of exceptional quality. Although modest in size, the collection includes work from at least five distinct cultures -- Plains Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakoda and Anishnaabe. The current Earl of Southesk subsequently donated five additional items linked with the collection.[10]



  • Herminius: a romance. (1862)
  • Suomiria: a fantasy (1899)[11]

Short Fiction

  • Some Sort of Madness [excerpt] (1982) [only as by Earl of Southesk][12]


His seal
  • Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains: a diary and narrative of travel, sport, and adventure, during a journey through the Hudson's Bay Company's territories, in 1859 and 1860. (1875)[13]
  • Origins of Pictish symbolism; with notes on the sun boar and a new reading of the Newton inscriptions. (1893)[14]
  • The Ogham Inscriptions of Scotland. (1885)
  • Britain's art paradise; or, Notes on some pictures in the Royal Academy, (1871)


  • Lurida lumina. (1876)[15]
  • The Burial of Isis, and other poems. (1884)[16]
  • Jonas Fisher, a poem in brown and white. (1875)[17]
  • Greenwood's farewell and other poems. (1876)[18]
  • The Meda Maiden, and other poems. (1877)


  • Catalogue of the collection of antique gems formed by James, ninth earl of Southesk, K.T.; edited by his daughter Lady Helena Carnegie. (1908)[19]

Personal life

On 19 June 1849, Sir James married Lady Catherine Hamilton Noel (1829-1855) at Exton Park, Rutland, England. Lady Catherine was the second daughter of Charles Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough and, his third wife, Annabella Hamlyn-Williams (second daughter of Sir James Hamlyn-Williams, 2nd Baronet of Clovelly Court). Before Catherine's death in 1855, at the age of twenty-six, they had one son and three daughters:[1]

In 1860, Lord Southesk married Lady Susan Catherine Mary Murray (1837-1915), eldest daughter of Alexander, Earl of Dunmore. They had three sons and four daughters, including:[1]

  • Sir Lancelot Douglas Carnegie (1861-1933), who married Marion Alice de Gournay Barclay, youngest daughter of Henry Ford Barclay in 1890, and had issue.[1]
  • Lady Dora Susan Carnegie (1863-1852), who married Maj. Ernest de Rodakowski-Rivers, son of General Josef de Rodakowski by his wife Ottilia, Countess Wrangel.[1]
  • Lady Elizabeth Erica Carnegie (1864-1897), who died unmarried.[1]
  • Lady Helena Mariota Carnegie (1865-1943), who died unmarried.[1]
  • Lady Katherine Agnes Blanche Carnegie (1867-1949), who married Courtenay Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar. Had issue.[1]
  • Hon. Robert Francis Carnegie (1869-1947), who married Violet Mabel Fraser, second daughter of Philip Affleck Fraser, 18th of Reelig, and Augusta Zella Webb (eldest daughter and heiress of William Frederick Webb).[1]
  • Hon. David Wynford Carnegie (1871-1900), an explorer who died unmarried.[1]

Lord Southesk died on 21 February 1905, aged seventy-seven while at his home in Kinnaird Castle in Scotland. He was succeeded by his son from his first marriage, Charles Noel Carnegie.[1]

Legacy and honours


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Southesk, Earl of (S, 1633)". www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Cokayne, George Edward, ed. (1983). The Complete Baronetage (reprint ed.). Alan Sutton Publishing.
  3. ^ a b c "National Poetry Month - The Earl of Southesk, Other". Fort Edmonton Park. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 2019.
  4. ^ a b Simons, Paula (31 July 2009). "Earl of Southesk saddles up to trace ancestor's journey". The Edmonton Journal. Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ "James Carnegie".
  6. ^ "Southesk Cairn".
  7. ^ Barkwell, Lawrence. https://www.scribd.com/document/187295746/Southesk-Expedition-Metis-Guides
  8. ^ "The Plains Grizzly Bear - Saskatchewan Historical Markers on Waymarking.com". www.waymarking.com. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre". www.ancientechoes.ca. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "Southesk Collection". Friends of Royal Alberta Museum Society. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1976). Suomiria: a fantasy. Supernatural and occult fiction. New York: Arno Press. ISBN 9780405081705.
  12. ^ "Summary Bibliography: James Carnegie, 9th Earl of Southesk". www.isfdb.org. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1875). Saskatchewan and the Rocky mountains. A diary and narrative of travel, sport, and adventure, during a journey through the Hudson's bay company's territories, in 1859 and 1860. Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas.
  14. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1893). Origins of Pictish symbolism: with notes on the sun boar and a new reading of the Newton inscriptions. Edinburgh: D. Douglas.
  15. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1876). Lurida lumina. Edinburgh: Edmonston.
  16. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1884). The burial of Isis, and other poems. Edinburgh: D. Douglas.
  17. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1875). Jonas Fisher, a poem in brown and white. London: Trübner.
  18. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie (1876). Greenwood's farewell and other poems. London: Straham.
  19. ^ Southesk, James Carnegie; Carnegie, Helena Mariota (1908). Catalogue of the collection of antique gems formed by James, ninth earl of Southesk. London: B. Quaritch.
  20. ^ "De La Warr, Earl (GB, 1761)". www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ Baillie, Alexander Charles (2017). Call of Empire: From the Highlands to Hindostan. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-7735-5207-4. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ Fryer, S.E. (1912). "Carnegie, James". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement. 1. London: Smith, Elder. pp. 315-316.

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Burnett
Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Kintore
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
James Carnegie
as de jure earl
Earl of Southesk
Succeeded by
Charles Carnegie
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Balinhard
Succeeded by
Charles Carnegie
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
James Carnegie
(of Pittarrow, Kincardineshire)
Succeeded by
Charles Carnegie

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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