William Ewart was born in Liverpool on May 1, 1798. His father was the son of the Rev. John Ewart, minister of Troqueer, another of whose sons was Joseph Ewart who became a notable diplomat and envoy‐extraordinary and minister‐plenipotentiary to Frederick William II, King of Prussia. William was the grandson of Andrew Ewart, minister of Kells, and the great‐great‐grandson of John Ewart of Mulloch, member of King William's first Parliament and who, till 1697, represented the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. The family as provosts and bailies of Kirkcudbright can be traced back to 1583. Thus, but for the infusion of the Yorkshire strain from his mother, William Ewart was a Galloway man of long and notable descent.
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