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Replies: 63

McPhersons of Tomalienan, Braes of Glenlivet

Posted: 1370532336000
Classification: Query
Surnames: McPherson, Gordon, Stuart, Grant, Smith, Turner
Hello Glenlivet folks!

Good work to date on the Glenlivet Project, Laryn.
Here's my contribution.

My ggg grandfather James McPherson’s first wife was Janet Gordon of Ballaknochcan, nearest croft to Tomalienan and part of the Lettoch holdings. They married 5 October 1826 (OPR, 1826) and had five children.

* daughter Jenny was born 9 August 1828 and was baptized two days later, as listed in the Register of Protestant Children in the District of Tomintaul (OPR, 1828a);
*oldest son John (my gg grandfather who came solo to Canada in 1851 and established a large and very successful shoe manufacturing business in Hamilton, Ontario) was baptised 14 February 1831 in Inveravon (OPR, 1831c);
*Margaret was born 20 December 1834 in Glenlivet and baptised two days later (OPR, 1834a).
*William was born 18 December 1836 and also baptised two days later (OPR, 1836a):
*Finally, George was born 30 November and christened on 3 December 1840, as witnessed by John Grant and William Smith (OPR, 1840).

My ggg grandmother Janet Gordon presumably died because James McPherson of Tomnalienan married again to Margaret Turner from Croftbain on 8 July 1845 (OPR, 1845). James and Janet’s eldest Jenny would have been 16, John 15, Margaret 11, William 9 and George 4. James (Snr.) and Margaret Turner’s first child James (Jnr.) was born eleven months later, on 1 June 1846 (OPR, 1846). Seventeen months later, James and Margaret had another boy, Robert, born 27 December 1847 (OPR, 1847). Their next child, Ann, was also born in Inveravon, on 9 October 1850 (OPR, 1850). Their fourth child was Alexander McPherson, born 21 May 1852, also in Inveravon (OPR, 1852).

Nine years after Alexander’s birth, the Census held on 7 May 1861 (1861d) found James McPherson and Margaret née Turner’s blended family living at Tomnalienan. James (Snr.) was now 50 and farming 120 acres. He and his wife Margaret (aged 53) still had James (Jnr.) 14, Robert 12, Ann 10 and Alexander 8 at home. Also listed was James (Snr.s’) son William 23 (therefore born about 1838, probably 1836 and from his first marriage) and George McPherson aged 2 (born about 1859), who was probably the son of William. They also had a servant and three ploughmen. There were two other small families living on the estate, one an ex-agricultural worker and the other a “pauper formerly domestic servant,” neither McPhersons.

The Census (1871e) held ten years later recorded that James (Snr.) was now 70, farming the same 120 acres of arable land and employing two men and a girl. Also resident were his wife, Margaret McPherson, now 62, James (Jnr) 24, Robert 23, a surgeon and physician, Ann 18, and Alexander 18, a student of medicine at the University of Aberdeen. Neither William (now about 33) nor George (now about 12) were at home. Also present were a servant aged 24, a farm servant aged 24, a domestic servant aged 18, and a shepherd aged 16. There were two other families also resident on Tomnalienan, implying the presence of other longstanding, elderly and one-time agricultural labourers and domestic servants. It is also shown below that James (Snr.) and
Margaret had the means to record their families standing and accomplishments on impressive gravestones.

Ten years on, the Census conducted on the 3rd of April 1881 recorded the remnants of James and Margaret McPherson’s family at Tomnalienan (1881d). James (Snr.) was 75 and now farming 254 acres of which 140 were arable, employing three men, one boy and one girl. Margaret his wife was 73 (born about 1808) and they were living in a substantial house that had five rooms that had at least one window. However, only one of their children was at home; James (Jnr.) aged
34. They had three agricultural servants and a domestic servant.

Sometime between the Census in 1881 and 1884, James (Snr.) and Margaret moved the remnants of their family to Auchmillie Farm, about 3 kilometres south of Portsoy (see right). It is about 36 miles from Inveravon Primary School to Auchmillie, that is, about two days horse ride or three days by bullock cart or on foot. But the family did not
forget their Highland origins; they continued to commemorate their departed through monumental inscriptions in the Downan Cemetery in Inveravon for many decades.

James Macpherson (Snr.) died at Auchmillie Farm, at 10.00 pm on the 19th of September in 1884 (SR,1884c). He was confirmed as a retired farmer married to Margaret Turner and as previously married to Janet Gordon. He was 82, therefore born about 1802. He was also confirmed as the son of William Macpherson, farmer (deceased)and Jane Macpherson née Smith (deceased)[my gggg grandparents]. Alex Robb MD certified that he died of congestion of the lungs after two days, with many prior years of asthma and rheumatism. The informant was Annie Macpherson, his daughter. The death was registered by James Grant at Fordyce on 22 September.

James Macpherson’s second wife, Margaret Macpherson née Turner, died at 7.50 am on 16 December 1885 (SR, 1885b). She was 78, therefore born about 1807. She was confirmed as the daughter of William Turner, farmer (deceased) and Isabella Turner née McGovan (deceased). Her cause of death was certified as “cardiac weakness and irregularity for 1 1/2 years, congestion of lungs 1 1/2 years and anasarca4 for 6 months” by Alex Robb, MD. The informant was James McPherson, her son, and her death was registered 22 December 1885 at Fordyce by James Grant, Registrar.

James (Snr.) and Margaret are both commemorated in the Downan Cemetery, Lair 158; “In loving remembrance of James Macpherson, late farmer, Tomnalienan, Glenlivet, who died at Auchmillie near Portsoy

19 Sep 1884 aged 82. Also his wife Margaret Turner who died at Auchmillie near Portsoy 16 Dec 1885 aged 78 (Mitchell, Mitchell, & Bishop, 2007, p. 30).

Their going left James (Jnr.) and Ann to farm Auchmillie in Fordyce. Ann had apparently nursed her parents into their old age and remained unmarried. The Census conducted on 5 April 1891 (Census, 1891a) found that James (Jnr.) McPherson was 44, also unmarried and head of the household. Ann, 39, was his housekeeper. They had three farm servants, two domestic servants and a visitor, Lizzie Crass, 32.

Ten years on, James (Jnr.) and Ann were, respectively, still farming and housekeeping at Auchmillie (Census, 1901a). “Annie Macpherson” died on the 24th of December 1908(SR, 1908b). She was 58 and died of cerebral apoplexy, as certified by James Reid MB. Her parents were confirmed as James McPherson and Margaret McPherson née Turner. Her brother James McPherson (Jnr.) was present.

“James Macpherson” (Jnr.) died at 8.00 pm on 18 August 1914, at Auchmillie, Fordyce (SR, 1914). He was described as a single farmer, aged 68, verifying that he was born about 1846. James Jnr. was also confirmed as the son of James Macpherson, farmer (deceased) and Margaret Macpherson, née Turner (deceased). He died of
heart disease over two years as certified by James Read MB. The informant was Robert William Macpherson, James’ nephew, whose address was given as the Town Hall, Chester. His death was registered by William Thompson, Fordyce.

Annie and James (Jnr.) were also commemorated in the Downan Cemetery by a Celtic cross on double plinth within an enclosure, Lair 156-158; “In loving memory of Annie Macpherson, daughter of James Macpherson, farmer in Tomalienan, who died at Auchmillie, Portsoy 24 Dec 1908 aged 58. Also James Macpherson, farmer, son of James Macpherson, Tomalienan, Glenlivet, died at Auchmillie, Portsoy, 18 Aug 1914 aged 68 (Mitchell, et al., 2007, p. 29).

James (Snr.) and Margaret’s second son Robert had a distinguished family that was also commemorated in Downan Cemetery, Lair 126, with a Celtic Cross on triple plinth. On the east face, it reads; “In loving memory of Robert Macpherson MD, son of James Macpherson, late of Tomalienan, Glenlivet, who died at Stalybridge, Cheshire 11 Feb 1895 aged 47 [b. abt. 1848]. Also in loving memory of his wife Isabella M. Smith Macpherson d. 22 Jul 1924 aged 77 [b. abt. 1847]. RIP.” On the north face the plinth commemorates two of their children; “James Macpherson MD d. 28 Dec 1907 aged 32 [b. abt. 1875]. John Gordon Smith Macpherson, MD d. 14 Jun 1917 aged 40 [b. abt. 1877].” On the south face it commemorates “Their son Geo. Smith Macpherson CE d. 23 Jul 1941 aged 61 [b. abt. 1880]. Also their dau Margt. Isabella Macpherson d. 17 Jul 1951 aged 73” [therefore born about 1878] (Mitchell, et al., 2007, p. 25).

James (Snr.) and Margaret’s youngest natural son, Alexander, is also commemorated in the Downan Cemetery, Lair 157, by a pillar with an urn on top. The inscription read “In loving memory of Alexander Macpherson, MD, youngest son of the late James Macpherson, Tomanlienan, Glenlivet, who died at Inveravon House, Haslingden, Lancashire, 23 May 1890 aged 38 [b abt 1852]. Deeply loved and deeply regretted”(Mitchell, et al., 2007, p. 30).

In sum, James McPherson (Snr.) of Tomnalienan married twice, had five children by his first wife Janet Gordon, four by his second wife Margaret Turner, invested heavily in higher education for many of his children
and moved to Auchmillie a few years before he died. Two of his children from his second marriage, Ann and James (Jnr.), farmed Auchmillie until they died, unmarried, three kilometres from Portsoy. Most of the above is extracted from Reynold McPherson's excellent treatise on the McPhersons of Portsoy.

I can now trace my mother's family directly back to Tomalienan Farm and have confirmed solid links to the Gordons of Lettoch and the Stuarts. I'm at an impasse however with my gggg grandparents William McPherson and Janet Smith. If anyone could shed some light on who their parents were in the tight knit RC community of Glenlivet then I would be most grateful. Planning a trip to the Braes next summer as
a retirement present.

Ian McPherson McCulloch
Lieutenant Colonel
The Blkack Watch (RHR) of Canada
Toronto, Canada
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
christinecore... 1355687688000 
aberloursearc... 1363139184000 
42ndRHR 1370532336000 
larynb 1370535521000 
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