[taken from Chapter 9 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]
The next Manx emigrants we hear of left the island in 1655, their destination being Virginia. They consisted of two brothers, WILLIAM and JONATHAN CHRISTIAN, from the parish of Maughold, and a family named COTTIER from the parish of Lezayre. One result of their emigrating together was that the brothers Christian married two of the Cottier girls. WILLIAM received a grant of land from the Crown, which is still in the possession of his descendants.
The first of the Christians who became prominent was ROBERT, a descendant of William's. He was a colonel in the Revolutionary War, a devoted friend of Washington, an ardent federalist in politics, and an Episcopalian in religion. He was possessed of an ample fortune, and his home was the scat of that genuine Virginian hospitality which was so famous in his day, and is still the charm and crown of our civilisation."1 Another writer states that 2 he was long a member of the Virginia Assembly, and a member of a family which has for quite two hundred years been honourably and usefully represented in the judiciary and varied local trusts in Virginia."~ His judicial position was that of presiding justice of his county--New Kent. By his wife, a daughter of Commissary- General John Browne, of the continental army, he had issue JOHN BEVERLEY and LAETITIA. JOHN BEVERLEY CHRISTIAN (b 1796, d. 1856) was educated at William and Mary College, the alma mater of many of the most distinguished sons of Virginia. As soon as he reached his majority he was admitted to the bar, and soon built up a large practice. He was " about six feet high, handsome, a good speaker, and of exceptionally fine bearing before the courts and juries. His splendid manner, imposing presence, and persuasive style of argument, made him a most effective advocate, as well as dangerous opponent at the bar. 3 When comparatively young he was appointed judge of the Williamsburg circuit, and, till the circuit was "changed under the constitution of 1852, "4 he presided over its courts " to the satisfaction of the suitors, and with a dignity, ability, learning and integrity rarely equalled. "4 He also presided over the appellate court of the State in criminal cases, from 1835 to 1848. " His deportment on the bench is said to have been singularly fine, combining suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re to a degree rarely met with."4 His sister, LAETITIA, married John Tyler, at one time Governor of Virginia, then United States Senator, then Vice-President of the United States, and finally President, on the death of General William H. Harrison, who only lived one month after his inauguration.
1: From an address by the Hon. George L.,.
Christian, of Richmond, formerly judge of the Hustings Court,
published in 1900.
2: quoted by G L. Christian.
3 from Geo. L. Christian,s address.
GEORGE CHRISTIAN (colonel) was on the staff of General afterwards President --Washington, and took a conspicuous part in the revolutionary war. His brother JAMES was in the army at this time, and was killed in battle during Burgoyne's invasion of New York. George's son, THOMAS, served on the Canadian frontier during the war with England in 1812-14. One of Thomas's sons, WILLIAM HENRY, went out to California as a lieutenant in Stephenson's regiment. He afterwards had command of the old " Presidio " at San Francisco He aided the state surveyors in laying out the city of Saeramento, and he kept the first English school on the Pacific slope. At the beginning of the civil war he returned to New York and raised the 26th New York Volunteers, being made colonel of that regiment. He was brevet brigadier general at the battle of Antietam, where he received injuries that caused his death. Another relative of Thomas's is WILLIAM CHRISTIAN (colonel), who gained fame in fighting against the Indians. Christian County, Missouri, was named after him.* This family is now a very numerous one, and has spread into the states of Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky, Colorado, and Alabama, having no less than seven judges among its members, as well as numerous representatives who are either doctors, lawyers, or clergymen.
The only information we have about the COTTIERS is that the present representative of the family is a judge, he being a son of the late Hon. ROBERT COTTIER.
* information from Mr. Nathan Morse Christian Fletcher, of Jefferson County, Missouri, grandson of the Colonel George Christian mentioned above, and from judge Joseph Christian, late of the Supreme court of Appeal of Virginia.