McCubbins are known to have inhabited the Rhinns of Galloway for four centuries – from the small farms and villages to the port town of Stranraer. The Rhins of Gallowayis a hammer-head peninsula in Dumfries and Galloway,Scotland. Stretching more than 25 miles (40 km) from north to south, its southern tip is the Mull of Galloway, the southernmost point of Scotland.
The principal settlements are Stranraer at the head of Loch Ryan and the small village of Portpatrick on the west coast, other villages are dotted up and down the peninsula, including Kirkcolm, Leswalt, Lochans, and in the South Rhins; Stoneykirk, Sandhead, Ardwell and Drummore.
Sitting on the west coast of Scotland receiving the westerlies from the Atlantic, the area receives a large
amount of rainfall (around 1000 mm annually); this has led to the peninsula being principally used for farming, with the relatively flat land offering good dairy and beef production. Due to the seas very much ‘surrounding’ the land the area sees a significant effect of the North Atlantic drift, which ensures that the land is cooled in the summer and warmed in the winter, producing a stabilizing effect on the temperatures. Severe frosts are therefore minimized and this allows the area to play host to numerous tropical palms and flora which otherwise could not exist this far north. Having been settled from ancient times, the area has a long history, forming part of the western kingdoms that collectively ruled most of western Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales.
Subsistence lifestyles are likely to have been dominant throughout much of the peninsula’s history. Farming would have been practiced to satisfy the needs of the tenants and, later on, the estates. Fishing would have generally been practiced on a local scale for local consumption rather than export. Due to the very sparse populations that lived in the area it was not until the Industrial Revolution that changes from a basic subsistence crofting lifestyle would be noted. More about the Rhinns.
The McCubbin family moved up and down the peninsula, wherever employment took them. They knew the land well, were hardy and strong, and survived where many others didnt. Most lived into their 80s. Alexander McCubbin, born in Auchintibbert, died at the ripe old age of 101.
Some McCubbins moved on to Ayrshire, Kircudbrightshire, then further afield to America.
I. William McCubbin born c1750, married Janet Stewart. He was a Crofter as listed on son David’s death registration. Their children were John, Mary, David and Thomas.
A. William and Janets son, John, was born between 1772 and 1782. He married Grizal ‘Grace Kerr Carr in 1905 at Inch. He was an Agricultural Labourer and Crofter. The couple had three sons, William, John and James, and a daughter Margaret. In 1851, John was a Widower living with his daughter, Margaret, at Culhawk, Inch. He died in 1862 in Mill Hill Street, Stranraer, of Paralysis.
1. William (1806 – 1884) born Kirkcolm, married Janet Jane Jess, in 1833, at Stoneykirk, Wigtown. They had eight children, Elizabeth, Helen, James Ross, Jessie, John, William, Grace and David. In 1881 William was a General Labourer, living at Farm Cottage Mark, Inch. The following children were listed as sons and daughters of William, Sr and Janet Sr, however, as in many Scottish households, the children of unmarried daughters were often referred to as the children of the grandparents….Margaret, 12, a Scholar, William, 10, a Scholar, Grace, 6, Elizabeth, 4. William was listed as being a Ploughman on his death reg in Crowse, Old Luce, age 78.
a) Elizabeth (1834 – 1920) born in Portpatrick, Wigtown, was a Sewer. She died at 18 South Main Street, Wigtown, Wigtown, Scotland, at age 86, of heart failure.
b) Helen McCubbin (1839 – 1916), born in Portpatrick, married James Gardner. Like her sister she was a Sewer. She died at 25 High St, Wigtown, age 77.
c) James Ross, born 1841 in Old Luce, Wigtown, married Margaret ‘Maggie’ McColm in 1868 in Old Luce, Wigtown. He was a Ploughman. In 1881 he was living in Crows (Crouse) cot house, Old Luce, an Agricultural Labourer, living with wife, Margaret, age 39, and children, John, William, David, Thomas, Alexander, Bella & Robert. James died before 1905.
Four sons of James and Maggie – John, William, David and Thomas left home for Stevenston, Ayr, where they and some of their wives, were employed as Dynamite Workers.
d) Janet, born 1844, Old Luce, a son, William McCubbin. He married Janet McDonald.
e) John, born 1847 in Old Luce, married Isabella Clacherty in 1884 in Old Luce, Wigtown. He was a Farm Labourer. They had two children, William and Isabella. Their daughter died age two, of severe burns of arms, chest, abdomen & legs, with shock.
f) William McCubbin, born 1850 in Old Luce. He was a Farm Servant at time of marriage to Sarah Callander in 1875 in Crossmichael, Kirkcudbright. William was living at Meikle, Dalbeattie.
They had four children, William, Robert Callender, Margaret Maxwell and Alexander Sandy. William died 1937 in Louchdougan, Kelton, Kirkcudbrightshire, at age 86, formerly a Ploughman.
Their son, Robert Callender born in 1875 died 1941, during World War One.
2. Margaret, born 1807, Leswalt. She appeared on the census of 1851, Culhawk Inch, living with father. Unmarried.
3. John, (1809 – 1897) born in Kirkcolm, Wigtown, married Janet Galloway, In 1841 he was an Agricultural Labourer, in Airies Land, Kirkcolm, living with wife & son. In 1851 he was at Auchabreck, Kirkmaiden, living with wife & children. Forty years later he was still living at Auchabreck Cothouse, Kirkmaiden, an Agricultural Labourer, age 77, living with wife. He died in 1897 in Port Logan, Kirkmaiden, age 83.
a) James, son of John and Janet, born 1838, Auchlach, Stoneykirk, married Elizabeth McDowall in 1862 in Whirlpool, Stoneykirk. He was a Farm Labourer. In 1851, he was age 13 and a Scholar. He and his family moved about the Rhins during his lifetime, all the while finding better positions and locations of employment. He was a Ploughman in 1875 at Killumpha, Kirkmaiden. He was a Farm Labourer in 1882 in Auchintibbert, Stoneykirk. In 1891 in Cottage, MoorePark, Stoneykirk, living at the Dairyman’s House, a Farm Servant. In 1901 he was a Ploughman living at Kirklauchlan Cottage, Stoneykirk. And finally at the age of 73, he died in 1911, a Farm Servant at West Freugh, Stoneykirk.
(1) John, son of James McCubbin and Elizabeth McDowall, born 1862 in Stoneykirk, married Katie Buckle in 1888 in Kirklauchlan, Stoneykirk. Groom a Farm Servant, age 26, Bride a Dairymaid, age 25. Katie was the daughter of Thomas Buckle, Sea Captain & Betsy Parker.
Two years after they married, John died of Ileus (intestinal blockage), in 1890, age 27, leaving a one year old daughter, Janet Taylor Parker McCubbin and a six day old son, John. Their grandparents James and Elizabeth cared for them. In 1901 young John was listed as a Scholar on the census.
(2) James was born in 1864 in Kirkmaiden by Drummore, Wigtown.
(3) Thomas McDowall McCubbin born 1867, Kirkmaiden, married Lettie Hopper in Kirkmaiden, Wigtown. They had Leslie, born in 1908 in Erie Co, NY.
(4) Nathan, born Nov 1870 in Grennan, Kirkmaiden married Leila Hopper, 1893. He was a Farm Servant. He died in 1943 in Elma, Erie Co, New York, USA. They had four sons, Guy John, Thomas, Claude and Albert, and two daughters, Bessie and Elizabeth.
Guy John, son of Nathan and Leila, was born 1894, Elma, New York and married Marion Edith Heitman. He died, 1967 in Buffalo, Erie Co, NY, at age 72. They had Beverley Jean, Virginia Marie, Janet Joyce, and Frederick Nathan.
(5) Annie was born 1873 in Grennan, Kirkmaiden. She was an Outdoor Farm Worker.
(6) William was born 1875 in Killumpha, Kirkmaiden. He appeared on the census of 1891 in Cottage, Moore Park, Stoneykirk, living with family, unmarried, outdoor farm worker, 16 yrs. He married Jeanie McVey in 1900 in Glasgow; a Gardener, living at Pinmore, Daljarrock by Girvan. Bride, 22, a Dressmaker.
(a) William born 1905, married Elizabeth Caldwell. William & Elizabeth had 5 children, Myra, Jean, Sheila, John, & William.
(b) Frank McVey born 1905, died 1875 in Stranraer, a retired Railway Stationmaster (Retired).
(7) Agnes born 1878 in Kirkmaiden married William Bodden Wither in 1911 in West Freugh. She was an Agricultural Labourer in 1901 in Kirklauchlan. At the time of her marriage she was a Domestic Servant, age 30, living at West Freugh. The Groom was a Ploughman. They had two daughters, Elizabeth and Wilhelmina.
(8) Alexander born 1882, Auchentibbert, married Jessie Dornan. death. He died in 1983 in Stoneykirk, Wigtownshire, age 101.
b) John, son of John and Janet, born 1842 in Kirkcolm, married Margaret Muir, 1865, in Old Luce. At the age of 8, in 1851 he was working as an errand boy. He was a Ploughman at the time of wife Margaret’s death in 1870 in Kirkmaiden. He married Mary Muir, in 1872 in Float Bay, Kenmure, Stoneykirk. In 1897 he was living in Mochrum Village. He had children, John, Agnes Galloway and Janet Galloway.
His son John born 1865 in Old Luce, Wigtown. married Jeannie Adair in 1896 in Burnbrae, Tarbolton, Ayr. He was a Ploughman.
4. James born 1813, Kirkcolm, son of John McCubbin and Grace Kerr, married Jane Mitchell, in 1842 in Portpatrick. He was at various times, a Night Watchman, a Ploughman and Farm Servant as noted on children’s records. The couple had Janet (who married Andrew McFadyen, 1873), Grace, Jane, Jacobina Garret, James, John, Jane (Janet) who married Robert Fullerton, Isabella, and William.
B. William McCubbin and Janets daughter Mary born c1775, married John Speirs. She was born circa 1775. She died 1867 in Burnbrae, Symington, Ayr.
C. William McCubbin and Janet Stewarts son David was born circa 1780 and married Jane McClumpha in 1801 in Leswalt. He was a Farm Servant and then a Crofter. He died in 1861 in Waulkmill, Leswalt.
1. Wilemena Minaeane/Mennie Anna/Marion, born 1803 in Kirkcolm married John Stewart in 1822 in Kirkcolm. She died, 1860 in Dunskey Home Farm, Portpatrick at age 56. They had twelve children, Jean, David, Elizabeth, Janet, Hay, William, Mina Ann, William, Agnes, John, Andrew and Mary.
2. William, was born 1808, in Kirkcolm, Wigtown. He married Mary Neill, 1857 in Knock & Maize, Leswalt. He was a Farmer as listed on father’s death reg in 1861. He died, 1876 in Waulkmill, Leswalt, at age 68. They had three children, David, Grace and William.
a) David born on 25 Jul 1859 in Leswalt, Wigtown, married Elizabeth McCubbin, daughter of David McCubbin and Helen Gardner 1883 in Clendry. Inch. The census of 1861, shows him as a Crofter of twenty acres. He appeared on the census of 1871 in Waulkmill, Leswalt. He was a Farmer then a Dairyman. He married (2) Agnes Wallace in 1902 in Stoneykirk. He died 1912. He died in Auchness, Kirkmaiden, at age 52, Broncho pneumonia, cardiac failure. His children were 1) William, b 1884, a Byreman, 2) David, b 1886, Glasserton, 3) Helen Nellie Gardner, b 1889, married Thomas McCune at High Mark, Leswalt, 4) John Campbell, b 1894, Inch, 5) Henry Neil b 1896 in Barsolus, Inch, Stranraer, 6) Robert, b. 1899, Inch, died 1916, Battle of Somme, age 17, 7) Elizabeth b 1900 in Inch, Stranraer. She appeared on the census of 1901 in Dunskey Home Farm, Portpatrick
b) Grace b 1861 in Leswalt, married John Campbell Carnochan, 1884 in Knock & Maize, Leswalt. She died 1948 in 5 West End Terrace, Stranraer, at age 86; Cardiac Failure. Grace had a daughter, Jane (Jeanie), born 1882. After her marriage to John, five more children were born, Mary, William, Agnes, Grace and John.
D. William McCubbin and Janet Stewarts son Thomas born c 1783, married Janet Muir, 1828 in Tarbolton, Ayr, a Labourer. He died, 1864 in Symington, Ayr.
1. William, born c1833 in Symington, Ayrshire, Scotland married Annie Watson, 1853 in Drybridge, Dundonald, Ayr. He was a Railway Labourer on wife’s death reg. He remarried to Elizabeth Dickson, 1865 in Dundonald, Ayr, a Railway Surfaceman and Railway Guard. He died 1875 in Pans Cottage, Troon, after Amputation of Leg. He had four children with Annie Watson,
1)Thomas, b1852, a Pitheadman, married Elizabeth Stevenson, 1886,
2) William Simson McCubbin, a Railway Guard, b 1855 in Dundonald, married Mary Wood in 1877 in Townhead, Kilmarnock, He died in 1877 in Hospital, Kilmarnock, Ayr, Scotland, age 22, of internal injuries. He was working on the Irvine-Kilwinning branch of the Glasgow & Western Railway Co., when he and his fellow worker, Bernard McAvoy were run over.
3) Andrew b 1857 in Dundonald, Ayr, married Jessie Cowan in 1884 in Dalrymple.
4) Annie b 1861 in Dundonald, married John McIntosh in 1881 Barskimming Mains, Stair.
Children of William McCubbin and second wife Elizabeth Dickson were,
6) David b 1865 in Dundonald, Ayr,
7) John b 1867 in Dundonald, Ayr, died 1887 in Dreghorn Village, Ayr, Scotland, at age 19; Phthisis Pulmonalis. (TB),
8) Elizabeth b 1870 in Dundonald, Ayr. She died of Diphtheria at age 3 months. 8. Elizabeth (2) born 1872 in Dundonald, Ayr, married Fred Gale in 1889 in Amickbank, Dreghorn.
2. Mary born c 1835, married Andrew Stewart in 1859 in Symington, Ayr. Groom, a Coal Miner
Occupations and Accomplishments
Agriculture: The main employment of the McCubbins in the Rhinns of Galloway, up until the late 1800s, was as Farm Servants, Ag Lab (Agricultural Labourers), Ploughmen, Dairymen, Cheesemakers, Grieves and Crofters. Women worked as Dairymaids, Seamstresses and Domestic Servants.
William McCubbin, born c1750, was a Crofter. His sons John and David were Crofters. Williams great grandson, David, was also a Crofter of 20 acres.
Scotland in 1800 was largely an agricultural society, Agriculture itself had undergone profound changes in the Lowlands with fewer farms and less people working on the land than in the 1700s. Industrialization attracted many young McCubbin lads away from the farms. Some worked on the railways, in the coal industry and as dynamite workers. Thus we find them working as Railway Workers, Dynamite Workers and Pitheadmen, under higher levels of occupational hazards. Two of this family, William McCubbin (b1833) a Railway Surfaceman, and his son William Simson McCubbin, were killed on the job.
Relates great granddaughter Grace Stevens;
My great grandmother Jane McCubbin also known as Granny Meekie was an out and out character. She was married at 16 and had 10 children by the age of 40. I’m not sure if the last one was actually hers – I think it may have been her daughter Nellie’s but I might be wrong. Anyway, Granny M had a reputation as a bit of a girl.”
Jane McCubbin, daughter of Grace McCubbin, was a Dressmaker when she married David McMechan, in 1898, Stranraer.
Grace Stevens recalls her great grandmother; She was always known as Jeanie to family and as Granny Meekie to all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
A story told by Margaret Hall, granddaughter, “was that when Jeanie was 10 years old she went to violin lessons in Stranraer. One day walking home in a thunderstorm she was frightened that her metal violin case would be struck by lightning and that she would be killed. So she threw the whole lot into the sea!
It was said that her husband was quite strict with her as she wanted to go out and about and enjoy herself. On one occasion he is said to have locked her in the first floor bedroom but she climbed out the window. She also used to sit on her large shopping bag and slide down the hill in the snow in winter – and she would have been well over 60 at that time!
She said she used to go to Sunday tea with Lord and Lady Stair and it was there she met Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Certainly she was collected in a limousine from time to time.
Newspaper article featuring Jeanie: Source: Galloway Gazette 28th Oct 1967,
Out and About in Stranraer with AW. Provided by Grace Stevens.
Excerpts from Smiling Through
Of our modern Stranraer, Jean is not critical, but her heart warms to a talk about old times. Her father Mr John Campbell owned a public house in Bridge Street known as the Grouse Inn. Her husband was a baker with John Gillespie and Son.
“Being an old West-Ender a little rhyme comes easy to her lips which runs thus:-
High Creachmore for buttermilk,
Low Creachmore for brandy
Wackmill is a bonny wee place
But Auchnell cuts the dandy.
When a pupil at Scheuchan School she had as her relief teacher, the Rev William Johnstone who told the class the following story. A man with a horse and cart was selling herring in Stranraer, and for some reason started whipping his horse rather severely. A woman opened her window and shouted at him Have you no mercy? and he replied No, only herring, six for sixpence’.
She recalls with pride the year she was was made the belle of the ball at Mr Thomas Galloways Grand Ball held in the Stranraer Town Hall.
She loved to see the old mission ship called the Albatross sail into Stranraer harbour. The crew conducted Gospel meetings on the Breastwork, and Jean was often enthralled by the blind organist Mr McIntrye singing the hymn Old Ship of Zion.
At home she is well looked after by her daughter Jean but likes a week walk out on her own to visit old friends and talk about old times.
Nathan, born Nov 1870 in Grennan, Kirkmaiden married Leila Hopper, 1893. He was a Farm Servant. He died in 1943 in Elma, Erie Co, New York, USA. They had four sons, Guy John, Thomas, Claude and Albert, and two daughters, Bessie and Elizabeth.
Guy John, son of Nathan and Leila, was born 1894, Elma, and married Marion Edith Heitmand. He died, 1967 in Buffalo, Erie Co, NY, at age 72. They had Beverley Jean, Virginia Marie, Janet Joyce, and Frederick Nathan.
Robert Callender MCCUBBIN; MI Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Nationality: United Kingdom; Rank: Civilian; Regiment: Civilian War Dead; Age: 66
Date of Death: 09/03/1941; Additional information: of Bury Farm, Wormley. Son of the late William and Sarah McCubbin of Gelston Village, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died at Bury Farm; Casualty Type: Civilian War Dead; Cemetery: Hoddeson, Hertfordshire
Robert MCCUBBIN son of David & Elizabeth, born 1899, died on 14 Jul 1916 in Battle of Somme; aged 17. Source: MI of family. Birthplace: Inch, Wigtownshire Enlisted: Stranraer, Wigtownshire, Residence: Leswalt, Wigtownshire Rank: Private Number: 20338, Date died: 14 July 1916. How died: Killed in action. Theatre of war: France & Flanders.
William MCCUBBIN, son of William McCubbin and Mary Neill served in the 10th Labour Btn, Royal Engineers, Acting Sergeant, England. Died, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England, 17 Nov 1918, age 51. Buried Sutton-in-Ashfield Cemetery.
Guy MCCUBBIN was a veteran of the Military who received an honorable discharge 15 May 1919. He served in the National Army, Field Artillery arm. His service number is indicated on his Transcript of Military Record as 1 927 195 – Grade: Private, Battery A, 320th Field Artillery. He was inducted and entered into active duty 26 Sep 1917 in Collins, NY. He served in St. Mihiel Meuse Argonne Offensive, Defensive Sector: Marbache in France from 18 May 1918 until 9 May 1919.
Facts of Interest
The Crofter – Crofting has long been considered a purely Highland activity but in the southernmost regions of Scotland a crofting community existed until the end of the end of the Second World War. Small scale subsistence farming was the backbone of crofting. Individuals who had worked as farm servants and other agricultural positions were able to have a certain independence, by renting a croft land. A crofter is the person who occupies and works a small landholding known as a croft, paying rent to the landlord. But many others purchased their crofts and became owner-occupiers of their crofts. (from Scottish Crofting Federation).
The Pit Headman – He was in charge of offloading the cages at the surface and weighing the coal – he weighed it for the company and was in the employ of the company; the Check Weighman was in the employ of the workers/union and checked that the weights were correct. …there were others who worked on the pit head who may have been employed as pit head workers – this would cover a number of different jobs.
Contributors: Grace Stevens, Linda Call, Virgina Gardner, Laurie Pawlowski, Janet Kasprzyk, Linda White