The New York Raitts

This page provides some information on some of the Raitt families who moved to (from Scotland) and lived in New York, both in the city itself, as well as in other parts of the state, particularly Delaware Count. The information below is not complete, either for all members of a family or for individuals themselves, and will hopefully be added to in due course.


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Among the first of the families to arrive in New York State was the family of Thomas Raitt and Elisabeth Thoms who married in Glen Isla, Angus, Scotland in 1787. Thomas, himself, appears to have died before the family emigrated in 1817 and two daughters of his six children did not emigrated with their mother, three brothers and other sister. They seem to have gone straight to Bovina in Delaware County, though the town seems to have only been formed in 1820 and was named for its dairy cattle industry. I have now discovered much about the descendants of this particular Raitt family and their spread through America - especially California where the most famous branch is to be found - and I have created a separate page - the Bovina Raitts - for them.


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Also to be found in New York is Robert Rait of Edinburgh who arrived from Scotland in 1833 and as a silversmith, jeweller, and retailer established the firm of Robert Rait & Co. (1835-1855) (See Illustrious Raitts - The Craftsmen.) He became naturalized in 1850.  In the 1860 New York Census he is shown as a merchant, and apparently not married or head of the household, with an estimated worth of $50000. He died, a widower, of an epileptic fit, in New York City on 1 February 1869.


Robert had a son named Crichton, born on 19 February 1845 in New York. Crichton S. Raitt is listed in the Edinburgh Academy Register 1824-1914 as attending there from 1858-1861 (classes  4-6). It is noted that he was the son of Robert Rait, merchant in New York. Chrichton S. Rait married Julia Lightbowen on 21 Sep 1876 in Kings, New York. He died in Brooklyn, New York on 25 Oct 1877. There exist coins that are stamped or marked with a merchant name - these include C. S. Raitt and John/Raitt.


Robert also had a well-known elder brother, David Crichton Rait, back in Scotland who was also a silversmith and goldsmith (See Illustrious Raitts - The Craftsmen.) Both were sons of David Reat (Rait) and Anne Crichton (Chrighton) who married on 21 Nov 1795 in Carnbee, Fife, Scotland. David was christened on 25 Oct 1796 in Largo, Fife, while Robert was born in Edinburgh and christened on 15 Aril 1807. They had several siblings and it is not yet known whether any others emigrated to the United States. (See under Scottish Raitts for family details.)


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One of the sons, Edward Duncan Raitt, of my grandfather’s elder brother, David, emigrated from Glasgow to the United States in 1923. After an initial spell in New Jersey, he moved to Brooklyn, New York where he married Elizabeth Morrison who had come from Glasgow to join him in 1928. The couple had two children born in Brooklyn: Edward Duncan (1929) and Annie (1934). Edward subsequently married and moved first to New Jersey and then Florida, but Annie stayed in New York, marrying Irvine Cole in 1956 and having three daughters born there. More about these families can be found on the David Raitt’s page.


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Meska (or Moses) Rajdewski emigrated from Poland to the United States with his family in 1920 and quickly became known as Morris Raitt. Although he was intending to go to his brother David in Detroit, he decided to stay in New York where he applied for citizenship. For the time being his story is included on the Michigan Raitts page.


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There are various other Raitt families in the New York area, including Bernard Reat, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1825, and I will be adding more information on these in the near future. In the meantime, see also under New York on the Raitts in the 1880 census page.