The Homeplace – Annan, Dumfriesshire
ANNAN lies on the east side of the River Annan a mile or so north of where it flows into the Solway Firth. With a name probably derived from the Gaelic goddess of prosperity, Anu, it initially grew around a river port and a royal castle and medieval hospital built by Robert the Bruce by the early 1300s. It was elevated to the status of a royal burgh in 1532. The founding of a cotton mill in 1785 added to Annans fortunes and during the 19th century it developed as a port with shipbuilding and engineering.
James McCubbin was born about 1775. He married Isabella Stoddart. Many of their descendants became Master Carpenters and Boat Builders. A son, James was born in 1796 in Dumfries. He married Jane Nelson circa 1816. He appeared on the census of 1841 in 10 Broad St, Annan, Dumfries; living with wife & children. A Carpenter. In 1851 he was living at Port Street, Annan, Dumfries; Head of Household, a widower, living with grown children.
He was a Ship Carpenter (Journeyman) as recorded on the census in 1851. He married Barbara Cummin McKinnell in 1862 in Queensberry Arms, Annan; James and Barbara were both widowers. James was residing Broad St, Annan. He died in 1871 in Kippford, Colvend; of Apoplexy [a stroke]. Age 75. James had eight sons and one daughter. Many would leave Scotland for other parts of the world. Eleven members of this family are buried in the Old Parish Churchyard, Annan.
Occupations & Accomplishments
This family’s life revolved around carpentry, boat building and the sea…many were listed in the censuses as Ship Carpenter Journeyman, Master Boat Builder, Fishermen and Fishmongers. Some of the women in the family worked as Dressmakers, Drapers Assistants, Laundresses, and Fishmongers with their husbands.
Model of a Solway Trawl Boat, 1897, Annan, Dumfriesshire. This exact reproduction of a 31 foot cutter was made by the Glasgow silversmith, James Forrest. He based his work on a larger wooden model made by local boat builder, James McCubbin.
James McCubbin and Jane Nelsons daughter Isabella, was born 1818. She married James Waite, 1851, a local carpenter and master painter. One of their sons, James McCubbin Waite, was born 1857, Liverpool. In 1889 he is shown as being a provision broker and agent for Hatley Bros, lard refiners and packers of Chicago, USA and Brantford (Ontario), Canada, and he had an office in Liverpool. James was a regular visitor to USA and Canada on business and he also enjoyed travelling to Egypt, South Africa and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for winter breaks. By 1898, James McCubbin Waite had formed J.M. Waite & Co., Provision Brokers. At the opening of the Liverpool Provision Trade Association Ltd. in 1902, he is listed as one of the Directors. He was also Chairman of the North Western Co-operative Cold Storage Co. Ltd., Liverpool and storage premises in Bootle. (Source: LG Brown)
Going To Australia
Walter Nelson MCCUBBIN, grandson of James and Isabella, was born 1823 in Annan, Dumfries. He was a Carpenters Apprentice as listed on the census of 1841. In 1860, Walter, his wife, Margaret Moat Wilson and children, emigrated to Australia on King of Algeria arriving in Victoria. Walter was an Unassisted Passenger which indicates that he had sufficient funds to travel with his family as well as having a skill which would have made him an acceptable immigrant. Source: Unassisted Passenger List PRO Archives
He died in 1897 in Melbourne. Walter had been a Grazier and Civil Servant. Several of his descendants live in Australia today.
Stothart MCCUBBIN was born in 1837 in Annan, Dumfries, Scotland. In 1858 he was living in Liverpool and later moved to Australia. He married Rosetta HYAM in 1863 in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. They have many descendants living in Australia today. Stothart died in 1889 in Northcote, Victoria, Australia.
Going To Canada
James McCubbin and his family carried their boat building skills to North Bay, Ontario, Canada, where as John McCubbin of Kingston related,
They were big into boats, renting canoes and rowboats down by the government wharf in North Bay. I recall as a youngster, visiting the McCubbin boat building shop by the wharf in the 1945-1955 period. An obituary of Robert McCubbin, 1881 1950, recounts; He was a pioneer boat builder widely known and liked by North Bay boating enthusiasts. Born in Annan, Scotland he received his boat building training there. On arrival in Canada he entered the boat building business and was joined a few years later by his father, James McCubbin, his wife Elizabeth Clarke and other members of his family.
The McCubbin family also enjoyed the competition of water sports. A source from the North Bay Ontario Library quotes;
G.G. McCubbin & William Beaton, who was an influential figure in sports in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, won the senior tandem paddling race at the Canadian National Exhibition.They defeated olympic paddlers, and set a new record for the course.
The City of North Bay Veteran Memorial Honor Roll of North Bay, Ontario, Canada, lists three of James & Elizabeth’s sons as having served in the First World War in the 159th Battalion. All sources were from their Canadian Expeditionary Force Attestation Papers, Source: Soldiers of the First World War Canadian Archives.
MATTHEW CLARK McCUBBIN began military service on 11 Feb 1916 in North Bay. Age 32. Married. Rank Corporal. He was a Carpenter when he enlisted.
WILLIAM LANG McCUBBIN began military service on 11 Feb 1916 in North Bay. Age 24. Unmarried. Rank Corporal. He died in 1966 in Ontario. Source: Nipissing Terrace Lawn Cem, NE Block, from NOCGG on-line
GILBERT GILCHRIST McCUBBIN began military service on 4 Feb 1916 in North Bay. Age 19. Unmarried. Rank SPR.
Dumfries Cemetery, Remembered with Honour ~ In Memory of Sergeant JOHN EDGAR McCUBBIN, 921118, 130 Field Regt., Royal Artillery, who died age 25 on 05 February 1940. Son of Ben and Thomasina McCubbin, of Dumfries.
Facts of Interest
Stoddard ~ (Stoddart, Stothart) This interesting surname is of Northern Olde English pre 9th century origins. It was originally an occupational descriptive word for a breeder or keeper of warhorses, and perhaps not surprisingly the surname is recorded in a number of alternative spellings. The derivation is from ‘stod’, meaning a studfarm, plus as a suffix a shortened form of ‘hierde’, the herdsman. The name has continued on through McCubbin generations as a first name.
Benjamin ~ Benjamin, son of James and Isabella, named his son Benjamin, who also named his son Benjamin. All were Fishermen. Tragically, Benjamin 3rd, age 19, drowned in the Solway Firth. The name Benjamin lives on through the generations.
The Solway Firth
The Solway can be treacherous with hidden channels and a tidal rise of 7 metres. In some conditions the tidal bore reaches a height of about 1 metre and travels at about 6 / 7 knots. Many a fisherman has lost his life in this dangerous stretch of water.
“He that dreams on the bed of The Solway may wake in the next world …”
Red Gauntlet” by Sir Walter Scott, 1824
Contributors: DC McCubbin (U.S.), Jennifer Robson (Australia), Colleen Stepanic (U.S.)