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William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne

My original source for much of the information on this page was a booklet entitled From North to South: a Campbell Story, written by Paul Campbell (a cousin of my mother). In the text below this booklet is referred to as [CS].

Halkirk

Halkirk is in Caithness in northern Scotland; it lies on the River Thurso, which flows into the sea at Thurso, about 10 kilometres north of Halkirk. As the crow flies, Halkirk is about 18 kilometres from the most northerly point of mainland Great Britain.

The parish in which Halkirk lies is also called Halkirk. It was created in the 16th century.

The name Halkirk (in variant forms) is recorded in documents from the 13th century. At that time Braal Castle, near Halkirk, was the principal residence of the Earl of Caithness, and the 3rd Bishop of Caithness, whose name was Adam, had his residence at Halkirk. Adam was killed by an angry mob in 1222 after increasing teinds to an unreasonable level, and the next bishop chose Dornoch (in Sutherland) as his residence and the site for his cathedral. Thus the ecclesiastical importance of Halkirk evaporated, and it remained as a mere vicarage until the parish of Halkirk was created.

The current village of Halkirk was founded in 1803 by Sir John Sinclair, who was the principal landowner of the parish.

For further historical information see Skinnet Chapel and the Origins of Halkirk Parish at www.caithness.org, and the Historical perspective for Parish of Halkirk on the "Gazetteer for Scotland" web site. Also see www.thisishalkirk.co.uk for more information about Halkirk.

Auld Kirk
Auld Kirk Halkirk, viewed across the Thurso River
© Copyright David Martin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
(Source: www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2042678.)

The old church, shown in the above photo, was built in 1753 and ceased being used in 1934. The marriage of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne took place there on 20/6/1807. The parish register does not record the names of the marriage witnesses, saying only "William Campbell in Sibster and Elizabeth Horne Halkirk were married 20 June".

Halkirk baptism records exist for twelve children of William and Elizabeth. Conveniently, these records include the names of witnesses, as well as saying where everybody lived. (Images of the relevant pages of the parish register can be purchased from ScotlandsPeople.)

We shall see later that as well as the children listed above, William and Elizabeth also had a son named James, probably born in 1823 or 1824. No corresponding baptism record has been found.

In the record of Grissel Campbell's baptism in 1831 the month was inadvertently omitted, but the preceding and following entries were for September 26th and September 29th. It is a little amusing that in the record of Elizabeth Campbell's baptism in 1826 it was considered necessary to squeeze in the word "side" after the word "Burn", making it clear that the family did not live right in the burn.

It should be noted that in Scotland at this time – in contrast to the custom in England – it was usual for a married woman to be known by her maiden surname rather than her husband's surname. In particular the Alexander Horne and Isabel McKay who appear several times in the records above were husband and wife. They were married on 19/12/1801 in Halkirk. I think we can be rather confident that Alexander Horne was Elizabeth's brother. I believe that the 1834 witnesses Benjamin and Catharine Horne were the son and daughter of Alexander and Isabel.

Perhaps the James Horne who witnessed Christian's baptism and the William Horne who witnessed Grissel's baptism were also brothers of Elizabeth. It is also possible that William Horne the witness was Elizabeth's father, although he would necessarily have been rather elderly by that time. Since Alexander Horne and Isabel McKay were the witnesses in so many other cases I have to wonder whether the first witness to Ann's baptism in 1828 was Alexander Horne rather than Donald Horne, the wrong name being entered by mistake. Or perhaps Elizabeth also had a relative named Donald.

Despite my statement above concerning the surnames of married women, I wonder if the Ann McKay of the 1822 baptism record is the same person as the Ann Campbell of the 1809, 1811, 1813 and 1815 baptism records. A John McKay and an Ann Campbell were married on 29/3/1816 in Halkirk.

The "Gazetteer for Scotland" web site has a map of the old County of Caithness which shows the locations of all the places mentioned in the parish register entries above. Lieurary is about six kilometres northwest of Halkirk, Houstry is about one kilometre south of Halkirk, and Banniskirk is about three kilometres east of Houstry. (Note that this Houstry is not to be confused with another Houstry in nearby Watten Parish, or with Houstry of Dunn (also in Watten), or with the Houstry in Latheron Parish, much further to the south.)

Sibster is the name of a region immediately to the east of Halkirk. A place called Newlands is marked on the old map, on the road that is now the A882, and I have also seen present-day references to "Newlands of Sibster", which is presumably the same place. It is not on the Burn of Halkirk, but it is possible that in 1831 the new lands of Sibster referred to a larger region, one that included the burnside residence of William and Elizabeth. Or perhaps William and Elizabeth moved.

In any case, I presume that when William and Elizabeth lived there, the new lands of Sibster really were new lands, or lands that were newly made suitable for agriculture. In the Halkirk section of the Statistical Accounts of Scotland (1834–1845) the Rev. John Munro wrote as follows:

Were we to be guided by the former Statistical Account, we would be led to think that the population was greater at the time it was written than at present. There cannot, however, be the least ground for such an opinion, as the Government census shows an increase at each of the periods it was taken. No part of the parish has been depopulated, and, in moors where ten years ago there was no house, a considerable number of dwellings is now built. The occupiers improve as much of the waste ground as their circumstances enable them. The gradual increase of the population is to be attributed to the cultivation of waste ground,—the improvement of which is carried on by those poor and industrious individuals who build houses in moors, and by farmers who employ labourers to cultivate wastes adjacent to the arable land they occupy. There is a demand for labour, and the soil yields a produce sufficient to remunerate the farmer for the capital he may have laid out.

Munro account 1 Munro account 2

He later went on to lament, very reasonably, the fact that the farmer's reward for cultivating waste lands was an increase in the rent that was then payable to the proprietor.

It is much to be regretted that those who do their utmost to subdue the stubborn soil of moor or mountain meet with so little encouragement. Instead of being made to pay a rent of 5s. or 2s. 6d. for every acre brought into cultivation, it would be better policy to give four times the sum for every acre so cultivated, for at least five or six years after a poor person commences such laborious and expensive works, and then a moderate rent might be charged for an equal number of years. A plan of this nature would encourage individuals to improve waste grounds, which, as they are, yield no food for man, no revenue for the proprietors ...

At the end of his report, in his General Observations, he summarized the changes that had occurred in Halkirk since the previous Statistical Account was prepared.

The most striking contrast betwixt the present state of the parish and its state forty years ago is that there is more cultivation carried on,—more of the waste grounds improved,—a better system of husbandry introduced,—and the quantity of grain raised is much greater than at the former period.

I do not know, but I am inclined to guess that the new lands of Sibster were created at the instigation of the proprietor, whoever that was, rather than by the initiatives of the tenants. Exactly when they were created I do not know. Whenever it was, I guess that it was then that the Burn of Halkirk and Sibsterburn acquired the rather unnatural looking straight and parallel courses that they now follow.

Sir John Sinclair, founder of Halkirk village, was a prominent agriculturalist, and an authority on the conversion of waste land into arable land. The creation of the new lands of Sibster may well have been his work, or inspired by him, and may have taken place at about the same time as the founding of the village.

Sibsterburn
Derelict buildings at Sibsterburn
© Copyright sylvia duckworth and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
(Source: www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1693573.)

Ancestors of William Campbell

In [CS] Paul Campbell writes "There were several William Campbells born in the parish of Halkirk in the 1770s, but we are claiming that our forefather was William Campbell, born at Lourery on 4 May 1777, the son of Donald Campbell and Catherine McPherson". He probably meant to write "baptised" rather than "born": in fact the parish register says "William lawful Son to Donald Campbel and Katharine McPherson in Lourery was baptized 4th May Witnesses Donald Gun officer & Betty Campbel in B...". (Donald Gun officer also witnessed some other baptisms recorded on the same page of the parish register. I suppose that "officer" means "kirk-officer". Betty Campbel's place of residence is illegible, unfortunately.)

The baptism records for the children of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne certainly support the conjecture that William originated in Lieurary. Three of their children were born in Lieurary, and the witnesses include an Ann Campbell of Lieurary and a Donald Campbell of Lieurary. There is a counter-argument, however. If [CS] is right about his identity then William Campbell would have been 64 at the time of the 1841 census, whereas in fact the census gives his age as between 55 and 59. Nevertheless, we do know that Elizabeth Horne was baptized on 22/7/1788, meaning that she was either 52 or 53 on census day 1841, and the census has her age as between 45 and 49. So we should not place too much store by census ages.

I am inclined to accept that William was the son of Donald Campbell and Catherine McPherson, but there is certainly room for doubt.

According to [CS], baptism records exist for five other children of Donald Campbell and Catherine McPherson, all of them younger than William. The details are not given in [CS], and I have only been able to find four:

The places mentioned here are all near to Lieurary. Assery is one or two kilometres west of Lieurary, and Knockglass one or two kilometres north of that. (This Knockglass is not to be confused with a Knockglass that is near Mybster, but in Watten Parish.) I am not sure whether I have correctly transcribed the name of the place mentioned in Anna's baptism, but there is a Waas in Thurso Parish some three or four kilometres north of Lieurary.

Perhaps Anna baptized in 1791 is the Ann Campbell who witnessed the baptisms of several of the children of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne, and possibly also the Ann Campbell who married John McKay in 1816. I had hoped to find that William Campbell had a brother named Donald who could have been the witness at the baptism of Thomas Campbell, son of William and Elizabeth, in 1813. But it is also quite reasonably possible that the witness was the baby's grandfather.

My information concerning William Campbell's parents and siblings is thus all rather conjectural. There is virtually no chance of discovering anything specific concerning earlier generations, since the Halkirk parish registers from before 1770 have not survived, and we are not here talking about members of the landed gentry who might have been mentioned in other documents.

yellow-haired
Caithness Family History (Henderson) p.275

The book Caithness Family History by W. S. Henderson (David Douglas, Edinburgh, 1884), has a chapter describing the history of the Campbells of Caithness. There are many uses of the words "it is said", "supposed" and "it is thought", giving the impression that the account may be legend as much as history. But it is interesting nonetheless. The chapter begins as follows.

From "An Account of the Clan Iver," or, as they are named by Gordon, The Seil- Wick- Iver in Caithness, by Principal Campbell of Aberdeen,—printed for private circulation in 1868, and reprinted in 1873,—it appears that some at least of the Caithness Campbells, viz. the M'lvers Buey (Buidhe, Yellow-haired), latterly Campbells of Quoycrook, in Caithness, and Duchernan, in Argyle, are descended from Kenneth Buey M'lver, who emigrated from Argyle to Caithness between 1575 and 1585, accompanied by his brother, Farquhar, and a band of the clan. In 1594 Farquhar was slain in a fight near Harpsdale. Kenneth was alive in 1616, and had obtained a charter of Quarrycrook in Halkirk.

Kenneth M'lver is said to have had two sons:— William M'lver or William Kennetson, who was chief of the clan, and John. The latter and his uncle, Farquhar, are supposed to have been the progenitors of many of the Caithness M'lvers and Iverachs, some of whom assumed the name Campbell.

According to a Caithness Field Club Bulletin, "Quoycrook ... has now disappeared, it lay on the east side of the Burn of Halkirk near its junction with the the river Thurso". (It is marked on the old map mentioned above.)

Campbell places
Caithness Family History (Henderson) p.276

According to the Clan Campbell Society of North America, in their Official List of Septs of Clan Campbell, in June 1564 Archibald Campbell 5th Earl of Argyll resigned to Iver MacIver of Lergachonzie, in return for money, all calps paid to him by those of the name MacIver, reserving to himself the calp of Iver himself and his successors. I guess this means that Iver MacIver became the chief MacIver in Clan Campbell. Apparently from this date many MacIvers began using the name Campbell or MacIver-Campbell. In particular, it seems that the Caithness Maclvers found it politically useful to adopt the name Campbell. In time Campbell became the most common surname in Halkirk parish.

The Wikipedia article on Clan MacIver says that at the time Principal Cambell wrote his Account he was petitioning the Lord Lyon King of Arms to recognise him as "Chief of Clan Iver". So there is every possibility that Principal Campbell distorted history somewhat to bolster his cause. But the details of this are surely not relevant to my family history.

Apparently Principal Campbell's account of the Caithness M'Ivers says that they occupied most of the lands in the parishes of Halkirk and Reay, and in the southern extremity of the parish of Thurso. Allegedly they gained possession of Quoycrook, part of Braal, Scotscalder, North Calder, Lieurary, Brubster, Sour, Braalbin, Gerston, Comlie-foot, Housell, Drakress, Olganymore, Sibster and Sordale.

Unsurprisingly, the names in this list include the names of the places that my Campbell ancestors apparently inhabited.

There was a later historical incident that could conceivably be relevant to the history of my Campbell ancestors. In 1672, being deeply in debt, George Sinclair, the 6th Earl of Caithness, resigned his titles and estates in favour of his principal creditor, Sir John Campbell of Glenorchy. On the earl's death in 1676 Sir John took possession of the estates, and was created earl of Caithness the following year. He also married the widowed countess, who was a Campbell (the third daughter of Archibald, Marquis of Argyll). But George Sinclair of Keiss, heir of the previous earl, disputed Campbell's claim to the land, and in 1678 he seized it. In 1680 Campbell took a force of 800 men north to evict Sinclair, who was waiting for him with 500 men near Wick. The ensuing Battle of Altimarlech was a comprehensive victory for the Campbells, but was actually rather pointless since the dispute was later resolved by legal means. In 1681 the privy council found that Sinclair was the rightful earl of Caithness. John Campbell of Glenorchy was compensated by being created earl of Breadalbane.

The relevance of all this to my family history is the theory that some of Breadalbane's army may have remained in Caithness and had descendants named Campbell. For example, James Robertson's journal (see below), recounting the words of a Caithness man named McLeay, says "there are a number of Campbells among the lower orders whose ancestors [McLeay] supposes were left by Breadalbane's Army in Charles II's time".

My own humble opinion, based on no knowledge, is that the number of Caithness Campbells descended from Breadalbane's army was probably not very great. However, in [CS] my relative Paul Campbell cites family folklore as suggesting that when William Horne Campbell, grandson of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne, lived in Laura in South Australia, he named his house "Breadalbane". In view of this folklore – the truth of which he was unable to confirm – Paul Campbell was led to wonder if our ancestors did have some connection with Breadalbane's army.

If Paul Campbell was unable to verify the rumour that William Horne Campbell named his house "Breadalbane", certainly nobody else will be able to verify it. My mother said that William Horne Campbell's widowed mother named her house in Laura "Caithness". But even if her son's house was named "Breadalbane" it would not prove anything. He might have just liked the word, and known only that it was the name of some place in Scotland.

Elizabeth Horne

Elizabeth Horne, wife of our William Campbell, was the daughter of William Horn and Grissel Campbell, who were married in Halkirk in 1777. The precise day of the marriage is uncertain because the relevant page of the parish register is damaged, but it must have been between 27/2/1777 and 3/3/1777 (the dates of the preceding and following events in the register). Elizabeth was baptized in Halkirk on 22/7/1788. We are sure that this is the right person, since she survived well into the time of civil registration of births, deaths and marriages, and the record of her death on 8/2/1885 gives her age as 96, consistent with the baptism record, and says that her parents were William Horne and Grace Campbell. (Note that "Grace" and "Grissel" were regarded as equivalent. For example, the youngest daughter of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne was baptized as Grissel, but in all subsequent records she is referred to as Grace or Gracy.)

According to [CS] Elizabeth Horne had the following siblings: William (baptized 11/1/1777), Alexander (baptized 24/12/1778), Donald (birth/baptism dates not known), Katherine (baptized 1/2/1784) and James (baptized 3/5/1786). One would expect that there would have been one or two children between Alexander in 1778 and Katherine in 1784; perhaps the evidence for Donald's existence is just this gap combined with the fact that a Donald Horne witnessed the baptism of one of Elizabeth's children. (However, as explained above, there is a minor worry that the witness Donald was actually Alexander misrecorded.)

The witnesses to all of the above Horne baptisms were were Alexander Sinclair and Janet Campbell of Houstry. I conjecture that Janet Campbell was Grissel's sister, and Alexander Sinclair her (Janet's) husband.

In [CS] Elizabeth's mother is identified with the Grizel Campbell, daughter of William Campbell and Christian Budge, who was baptized in Watten on 19/9/1754. This seems plausible at first sight, since there appears to be no other baptism record that fits. In [CS] Christian Budge is identified with the daughter of John Budge baptized in Watten on 22/2/1730. However, I am somewhat uneasy with the suggestion that for the period before 1770 – when there are no Halkirk parish registers surviving – my ancestors turn up in Watten, while after 1770 they are exclusively in Halkirk. It is a trifle too convenient.

The parish register entry for the marriage of William Horn and Grissel Campbell says "William Horn in Halkirk was married to Grissel Campbell in Mibster ...", which I presume means that before the marriage William lived in Halkirk and Grissel lived in Mybster. Mybster is in Halkirk parish, though extremely close to Watten. Thus it is quite plausible that Grissel Campbell originated in Watten.

Houstry, where Grissel's possible sister Janet Campbell lived after her marriage, is close to Mybster and hence also close to Watten. However, if they were sisters and were from Watten, one would naturally expect them to be married in Watten. Grissel was married in Halkirk, and since no record of the marriage of Alexander Sinclair and Janet Campbell has been found, it seems plausible that they were married in Halkirk before 1770.

In [CS] it is stated that the baptisms of six children of William Campbell and Christian Budge are recorded, with Grizel (1754) being the youngest. I have only found five: William (1740), an unnamed male (1746), Margaret (1750), Jean (1752) and Grizel. The Christian Budge baptized in 1730 was surely too young to be the mother of William. There was also a Christian Budge baptized in Watten in 1725, who is a better candidate, especially if she was a year or more old before she was baptized. But in any case, I am inclined to think that William Campbell and Christian Budge were not the parents of my Grissel Campbell: I think that my Grissel was probably born in Halkirk.

I have found five baptisms (in Halkirk) of children of Alexander Sinclair and Janet Campbell of Houstry, namely John (baptized 7/5/1773), Elizabeth (baptized 27/10/1776, witnesses Alexander Forbes at Brawl and Peter Key at Houstry), Margaret (baptized 25/6/1782, witnesses Miss Peggy Williamson and Mrs Rose in Banniskirk), Robert (baptized 13/5/1784, witnesses David Sutherland and Elizabeth Campbell in Quoycrook) and Robert (baptized 25/6/1786, witnesses Mr John Bain and Mrs Bain in Comlefoot). The fact that some of the witnesses were honoured with the titles Mr, Mrs and Miss indicates that they were not members of the mere hoi polloi!

In fact the Williamsons of Banniskirk make it into Henderson's Caithness Family History. Peggy (or Margaret) Williamson married John Sutherland in 1782; she was the eldest daughter of Donald Williamson of Banniskirk and his wife Isabell Ramsay. She had a brother named John, a surgeon in the army, who married his first cousin Jane Rose; my guess is that this is the Mrs Rose who witnessed Margaret Sinclair's baptism. (Married women were frequently afforded the title Mrs even when referred to by their maiden surname.) Peggy Williamson's eldest brother became Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Williamson of Banniskirk; her second brother James achieved the rank of Major, as did her fifth brother George. John, mentioned above, was her fourth brother; the third, whose name was Donald, died in the West Indies. Peggy's sister, Elizabeth, married John Horne of Stirkoke.

I suppose that it is possible that the Elizabeth Campbell who, with David Sutherland, witnessed the baptism of Robert Sinclair in 1784, was a sister of Janet Campbell (and of Grissel). But anybody can be a witness, and, in particular, I am not conjecturing that Peggy Williamson or Mrs Rose were any kind of relatives of Alexander Sinclair or Janet Campbell.

We have already noted that an Alexander Horne, presumably Elizabeth's brother, an Isobel Mackay in Halkirk on 19/12/1801. Alexander would have been about 23. There are Halkirk baptism records for four children of Alexander Horne and Isobel Mackay: Isobel Horns (19/7/1803), William Horne (17/2/1813), Benjamin Horne (19/3/1815) and Catharine Horne (29/4/1820). The 1841 census for Halkirk includes a household consisting of Benjamin Horne (Farmer, 25), Isabella Horne (57) and Catherine Horne (20). No doubt this was Alexander's family, and Alexander was deceased. If only he had survived to the time of civil registration of deaths, so that I would have been able to check his parentage! Too bad!

The Benjamin and Catharine Horne just mentioned would have been merely 19 and 14 years old at the time of the baptism of Peter, youngest child of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne, at which baptism the witnesses were Benjamin and Catharine Horne. Whether or not it was legitimate for such youthful people to be witnesses I do not know, but I have not encountered any other Benjamin and Catharine Hornes that could have been the witnesses.

It is possible that Elizabeth Horne's elder brother, William, became a soldier. The National Archives at Kew has a document recording the discharge in 1808 of William Horn, who was born in Halkirk, had served for 12 years and 2 months in the Caithness Legion Fencible Cavalry, 3rd Foot Guards, and was 27 years old. Elizabeth's brother would have been more like 30 or 31, but there is no better matching Halkirk baptism. William of the Caithness Fencibles was the father of a William Horne who was baptized in Halkirk on 3/11/1801. The baptism record reads as follows: "William a child begotten in fornication by Wm Horne soldier in the Caithness Highlanders and Fairly Campbell in Halkirk was baptised 3 Novem. Don Coghill and Barbara Suther.d servt to Mr Cameron." It has been suggested that the child's mother Fairly Campbell was the daughter of John Campbell and Catharine Mackay baptized in Durness on 3/1/1788, but surely she was not old enough. It is conceivable that William born in 1801 married Elizabeth Houston in Canisbay on 5/1/1822 and subsequently lived in Thurso. However, the relevant 1841 census record gives his age as 37, which is too low; so without some further evidence these conjectures remain dubious.

I do not even have any guesses about Elizabeth's other siblings.

The Hornes of Scouthel, Langwell and Stirkoke

In [CS] Elizabeth Horne's father, William Horn, is identified with the son of another William Horn. This latter William was married in Watten on 8/1/1736, his wife's name being recorded as Elizabeth Sutherland or Sandison. In [CS] the following children of this marriage are listed (all baptized in Watten): Alexander (baptized 3/3/1737), Jannet (baptized 19/12/1738), Patrick (born 9/12/1745 and baptized 19/12/1745), Elizabeth (baptized 5/10/1749), George (baptized 20/11/1751), Jean (baptized 20/11/1751), James (baptized 27/6/1754), John (baptized 27/6/1754) and William (born 2/7/1756 and baptized 9/7/1756). I do not know where the birth dates for Patrick and William come from: they are not given in the baptism records. It is strange and disappointing that FamilySearch.org does not have some of these baptisms, despite having other Watten baptisms from those years. Since ScotlandsPeople seems not have the baptism of George, I do not believe in his existence. I suspect that someone found the record of Jean's baptism difficult to read, and did not know whether the name was Jean or George. So this person wrote down both Jean baptized 20/11/1751 and George baptized 20/11/1751, and some later person thought there were two children.

The baptism records give the mother's surname name as Sutherland in some cases and Sandison in others, and, in the case of Alexander, as Sutherland alias Sandison. I expect that her father was Sutherland and her mother Sandison, or vice versa, and that they were not married.

Horn-Sutherland
GreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGrandparents?

Here are the baptism records, as I read them:

From the second and third of these records, it seems that Elizabeth's surname ambiguity – Sutherland or Sandison – was shared by her brother William (of Achahoy). There was also a John Sandeson alias Sutherland married to Kathrine Calder; they had a son Donald baptized in Halkirk on 6/11/1776.

The baptism record for William Horn (9/7/1756) gives his mother's forename as Elspet rather than Elizabeth. This merely reflects the fact that "Elspet" and "Elizabeth", like "Grissel" and "Grace", were regarded as interchangeable variants of the same name.

For William Horn's baptism, no witness names were entered (although a space was left for them).

I would like to be able to claim William Horn and Elizabeth Sutherland as ancestors of mine, since they were certainly (as we shall see) the ancestors of some prominent people. But, sadly, the evidence that their son William was the William Horn who married Grissel Campbell seems to me to be rather weak. The marriage record indicates that Grissel's husband was resident in Halkirk, and the couple clearly lived in Halkirk parish after their marriage, since their children were baptized in Halkirk. Yet the son of William Horn and Elizabeth Sutherland started life in Watten. There could easily have been a William Horn born in Halkirk in the early to mid 1750's; we have no way of knowing, since the parish registers for Halkirk from that era no longer exist. The parish registers for Halkirk after 1772 show enough Horns in the parish to make it likely that there were Horns there in the 1750's.

Jannet Horn, the daughter of William Horn and Eliza Sandison born in 1738, could well be the Jannet Horn who was married in Watten on 27/4/1764. If so, then her husband was named William Campbell. The IGI, and ScotlandsPeople, appear to only have one Caithness baptism of a William Campbell between 1723 and 1746: the son of William Campbell and Christian Budge baptized in Watten on 25/6/1740 (see above). So is it possible that this William Campbell married Jannet Horn, and William's younger sister Grissel married Jannet's younger brother William? It is perhaps a problem for this theory that Hillman Roots v.02 believes that the son of William Campbell and Christian Budge was the William Campbell who married Ann Gun in Latheron on 30/6/1765. I do not know if Hillman Roots has any solid evidence supporting this belief, but it seems to me that since there were at least three Caithness marriages of William Campbells between 1759 and 1765, the competition for the one baptized in 1740 is fierce!

Curiously, as well as the marriage of Jannet Horn and William Campbell in Watten on 27/4/1764, FamilySearch.org has a record of a marriage of Janet Horn and William Campbell in Latheron on 6/4/1764. It looks as though the same couple made it into both parish registers. Perhaps William Campbell lived in Latheron (which of course would not preclude the possibility that he was born in Watten). It seems likely that William and Janet lived on in Latheron and had several children. Unfortunately, Latheron baptism records for this period give only the father's name and not the mother's, and since between 1768 and 1778 there were fifteen baptisms of children whose fathers were named William Campbell, it is clear that more than one William Campbell was involved. Since the names of thse children include William, Christian, Elizabeth and Jannet, I think it remains possible that one set of parents was William son of William and Christian and Jannet daughter of William and Elizabeth.

Nancy Whyte has taken many photos of gravestones in the Halkirk cemetery and made them available online from her Halkirk Cemetery page at www.oddquine.co.uk. I am indebted to her for the photo of the grave of William Horn and Elizabeth Sutherland shown above. The inscription reads as follows: THIS STONE IS PLACED HERE IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM HORN TAXMAN IN SCOUTHEL & HIS SPOUSE ELIZABETH SUT[HER]LAND & THEIR SON [ALEX]ANDER WH.....THE YEAR ...

In 1851 census records I find Scouthel as the address of a few households in the parish of Watten. The old map on the "Gazetteer for Scotland" web site shows that Scouthal is about 1 kilometre (or a little more) from Watten, almost due south.

The Wikipedia article "Tacksman" gives the following definition: "A tacksman (Scottish Gaelic: Fear-Taic, meaning 'supporting man') was a land-holder of intermediate legal and social status in Scottish Highland society." The article goes on to say this:

Although a tacksman generally paid a yearly rent for the land let to him (his "tack"), his tenure might last for several generations. He would often be related to his landlord, the free-holder, and might, for example, represent a cadet branch of the family of the clan chief. The tacksman in turn would let out his land to sub-tenants, though he might keep some in hand himself.

In the 19th century some Hornes became significant land-owners in their own right. The Statistical Accounts of Scotland (1834–1845) mention Donald Horne Esq. of Langwell as one of the principal land-owners in Halkirk and in Latheron. The report for Latheron also says this:

One of the most eminent men known to have been connected with this parish, was the late Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, Bart., author of the former Statistical Account of Scotland, the Code of Agriculture, &c. &c. ; a man who was an ornament to the age in which he lived and of whom any parish or county might deservedly boast. Sir John was the principal proprietor in this parish, and the estate of Langwell then in his possession, was his favourite resort during the periods of his residence in the county. Here he commenced some of his earliest and most extensive improvements in the several departments of plantation, agriculture and sheep-farming, in the first and last of which he completely succeeded; and much of the beauty and utility of this valuable property is owing to his spirited and perservering exertions, seconded, as they were, by the skill and good taste of his successor, the late James Horne, Esq. of Langwell.

It should be mentioned at this point that the "improvements" carried out by Scottish landowners at this period involved, as an essential ingredient, the replacing of peasantry by livestock, which were thought more profitable. Thus agricultural improvements went hand in hand with the notorious Highland Clearances. In particular, many highlanders were forced to emigrate to North America and Australasia.

The Statistical Accounts also mention William Horne Esq. of Scouthel as the owner of Stirkoke and Sibster estates in Wick, and William Horne Esq. of Stirkoke as one of the chief land-owners in Watten. (Note that Sibster in Wick is not the same place as Sibster in Halkirk.) The report for Watten also says this:

It may be worthy of remark, that, about fifty years ago, the late Sir Robert Anstruther improved the Mains of Watten most judiciously, enclosed it with hedges and dikes, built a steading on it, and laid it out in the best style. The late Mr Horne of Langwell was the first to follow his example on his property of Wester Watten above-mentioned, which, from being almost entirely waste and unproductive, was converted, under the able management of Mr James Purvis, now manager to Mr Traill of Ratter, into one of the finest, as it certainly is one of the largest farms in the north of Scotland. What his uncle did to Wester Watten, Mr Horne of Scouthel, well known for many years past as the greatest and most successful improver in this county, has more recently done to his property of Lynegar, also in this parish.

I believe that William Horne of Stirkoke and William Horne of Scouthel are the same person. Of course this William Horne is not to be confused with our Elizabeth Horne's father (or her grandfather), who was a generation or two earlier.

The estate of Langwell was purchased by James Horne in 1811 (or thereabouts): this information is given by The Landmark Trust on their Shore Cottages web page. They also say that Donald Horne, who inherited Langwell, was James' nephew, and that Donald sold Langwell to the 5th Duke of Portland in 1856. The following information concerning Langwell appears in the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (F. H. Groome, 1882–4), and is quoted on the web page "Latheron through time | Descriptive Gazetteer entries" (part of the web site "A Vision of Britain through Time").

Langwell, the Scottish Seat of the Duke of Portland in Latheron parish, S. Caithness, on a green eminence between confluent Langwell and Berriedale. The estate was purchased by Sir John Sinclair in 1788 for £7,000, by James Horne, Esquire, in 1813 for £40,000, and by the fifth Duke in 1860 for £90,000, this enormous rise in value being due to the improvements carried out both by Sir John Sinclair and Mr. Horne. By the Duke nearly all the property was converted into deer-forest.

Presumably the deer greatly appreciated the improvements.

There is an account of the downfall of the lairds of Langwell on p. 106 of Memorabilia Domestica; or, Parish Life in the North of Scotland by the Rev Donald Sage, edited by his son (John Menzies & Co, Edinburgh 1889). I repeat it here because it amuses me.

The last of the lairds of Langwell was the elder brother of George Sutherland of Midgarty. He lived on his property, at the beautiful and romantic place of Langwell, on terms of amity and friendship with all his relatives and fellow-proprietors, and in the exercise of an unbounded hospitality. His estate furnished him with the choicest luxuries of the table, such as mutton, beef, salmon, venison, and game of every variety, while, from a wellstocked garden, he had the best fruits and vegetables which the soil and climate could produce. He was himself an epicure in no ordinary measure, but so social was his disposition that, even if his table groaned with good things, he could not eat a morsel with relish or comfort, unless he had one or more guests to enjoy them along with him. He was, besides, an excellent landlord, and, the desolating system of sheep-farming being then unknown, the straths of Berriedale and Langwell were the happy homes of a numerous peasantry, all of whom were ardently attached to their warm-hearted landlord. His eldest son and heir was, however, unworthy of his father and of his race. He was a determined prodigal. During his father's lifetime, he married Miss Sinclair, sole heiress of Brabster and West Canisbay, which, united with his paternal inheritance, afforded him the prospect of a very handsome income. But his extravagance and profligacy blasted his prospects. His loose habits so alienated the affections of his wife, that she felt herself compelled to sue for a divorce, whilst, by his extravagance after his father's death, he found himself so overwhelmed in debt, that he was obliged to sell his fine paternal estate far under its value.

Henderson's Caithness Family History has a somewhat less effusive description of the laird James Sutherland, but is equally scathing about his son Robert (see pp. 169–170). This source also informs us that Robert Sutherland sold Langwell in 1775. The 1791–1799 Statistical Accounts of Scotland have Langwell in the possession of John Sinclair.

Note that the removal of the happy peasantry from the Straths of Langwell was principally the work of Sir John Sinclair – he who was an ornament to his age – rather than James Horne. Sinclair placed a flock of Cheviot sheep on the estate. Nevertheless, I am sure that when James Horne took over the property he retained the sheep.

Some information on the genealogy of these Hornes is available from Kin Help: Snippets – collection 11, which quotes information extracted from the History of the Society of Writers to her Majesty's Signet:

Horne, Donald, of Langwell: Apprentice to James Horne, his uncle. Second son of John Horne of Stirkoke, Caithness – Born 20 May 1787, married 1 June 1821 Jane (died 30 May 1834) daughter of Thomas Elliot Ogilvie of Chesters, Roxburghshire. Died 23 June 1870.

Horne, James, of Langwell: Apprentice to James Marshall. Son of William Horne, Tacksman of Scouthill, Watten, Caithness. Died 29 September 1831, aged 79.

Horne, Thomas: Apprentice to and eldest son of, Thomas Elliot Ogilvie Horne, W.S. – Born 26 June 1854. married 6 August 1885, Horatia Georgina Ramsay, second daughter of Major James Wardlaw, Belmaduthy, and widow of William G.C. Asher, farmer, Belmaduthy. Died 24 September 1934. Firm - Horne and Lyell.

Horne, Thomas Elliot Ogilvie: Apprentice to, and son of, Donald Horne, W.S.. Born 1 January 1829. Married Priscilla Moore (died 15 October 1884). Died 26 June 1884.

The gravestone photograph shown above shows that William Horn, tacksman of Scouthel, was married to Elizabeth Sutherland, and baptism records show that their son James was baptized on 27/6/1754. This must surely be James Horne of Langwell, despite the fact that he was probably only 77 in September 1831. His (presumably twin) brother John, also baptized on 27/6/1754, is surely the John Horn who married Betty Williamson in Halkirk on 3/10/1783. Their son Donald was baptized in Halkirk on 26/5/1787, which fits well with the birth date given above; moreover, I have obtained the registration record of Donald's death, and it confirms that Donald Horne W. S., who died on 23/6/1870, was the widower of Jane Ogilvie and the son of John Horne of Stirkoke and Elizabeth née Williamson. I have also obtained the registration record of the death of one William Horne, Sheriff Depute of the County of Haddington, who died on 4/6/1856 aged 71. The record shows that his parents were also John Horne of Stirkoke and Elizabeth née Williamson; so he was the elder brother of Donald, and another nephew of James Horne of Langwell. We can thus identify him with the William Horne of Scouthel mentioned in the Statistical Accounts (quoted above) as the owner of Lynegar and nephew of James Horne of Langwell.

I have also obtained the inventory, disposition and settlement of John Horne Esq. of Stirkoke, who died on 5/10/1823. The executor of his estate was his eldest son, William Horne, Advocate, and Sheriff Depute of the County of Haddington, and the document mentions also his second son, Donald Horne (Writer to the Signet), his only other surviving son John Horne (who is to become an Artillery Cadet in the service of the Honourable East India Company), his eldest daughter Isabella Horne (the wife of Kenneth Macleay Esq. of Newmore), his second daughter Margaret Horne and his youngest daughter Elizabeth Horne.

The document very carefully made sure that Margaret Horne's husband, Allan MacFarlane, would not get the opportunity to squander any of John Horne's money:

... to the children of Margaret Horne my second daughter the sum of two thousand pounds the interest of which is to be paid to her for her own personal use and upon her own proper receipt during her life exclusive of the jus mariti of her husband for whose debts and by whose acts and deeds the same shall not be affordable and the Capital to be divided among her Children at her death in such shares and divisions as she may appoint and failing of such appointment to be divided equally amongst them share and share alike it being understood that their respective shares of said principal sum shall not rest or be payable until they attain majority or are married if females ...

Allan MacFarlane, Margaret Horne and family emigrated to South Australia; they appear on the passenger list of the Superb, which arrived at Adelaide on 29/10/1839.

Death notice
The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 29/7/1841

On p.107 of Memorabilia Domestica we are informed that "Langwell was purchased by Sir John Sinclair, and when he too got unhappily involved, was by him forfeited, at a valuation of £40,000, to one Horne, the son of a blacksmith at Scouthel in Caithness, but who had prospered as a lawyer in Edinburgh." Although it seems rather unlikely that a blacksmith's son could achieve such prosperity, this information in fact helps confirm that we have identified the Hornes correctly: the 1737 baptism record for Alexander, the eldest son of William Horn and Elizabeth Sutherland or Sandison says "William Horn Smith in Southdun and Elizabeth Sutherland alias Sandison his spouse had a child baptized ...". Combining this with the gravestone inscription tells us that this William Horn was a smith who became a tacksman, whilst Memorabilia Domestica and History of the Society of Writers to her Majesty's Signet combine to tell us that James Horne of Langwell was the son of a smith who was a tacksman.

An article published in the newspaper John O'Groat Journal in 1977, and apparently written by one Alan Roydhouse using the nom-de-plume "Comraich", contains a tale – described as "Caithness conjectural lore" – that attempts to explain the blacksmith's rise to prominence.

buried treasure
John O'Groat Jornal, 20/5/1977

The incoming proprietor [of Langwell] was an Edinburgh writer (Lawyer) who attended to the Sinclair estates. There is some mystery surrounding this gentleman James Horne. He was born at Scouthel, Caithness, the son of a local blacksmith. A part of the mystery lies in the rise of a blacksmith's son to the prominence of an Edinburgh notary, and his subsequent possession of the Langwell estate in 1813 for the reported figure of £42000.

Caithness conjectural lore has it that somewhere about 1750 Horne the Blacksmith, while ploughing on land near Scouthel, turned up treasure trove in the form of massive gold artifacts. Caithness was at the time host to many forgers and coiners. The lucky find of Horne's was soon converted into gold coin of the day and thus, James Horne was enabled to enter the Edinburgh legal profession for the initial training, and subsequently obtained substantial estate retainers ... one of which was that of Sir John Sinclair. It seems possible too that he, Horne, advanced monies from time to time to Sinclair, probably with the title of Langwell for security. The position arose, when repayment fell due, that Horne returned to his native Caithness, and assumed the title of the Langwell estates.

To me the "massive gold artifacts" story seems inherently unlikely, the use of the word "conjectural" increasing its doubtfulness. Conjectural lore is presumably based on someone's conjecture: "I know the blacksmith became rich – I  guess he must have found buried treasure!" While it is true that there are recorded instances of people discovering buried gold artifacts, I wonder if one could really get rich by melting them down and making coins. If Comraich actually had some good reason to believe the truth of the story, it is regrettable that he did not share it with his readers. Personally, I think it more likely that William inherited money – and the position of tacksman – from his father, or father-in- law, or some other relative.

It is perhaps worth mentioning that there was another blacksmith named Horne in the region, albeit at a somewhat later date: the 1841 census shows an 89 year old blacksmith named Henry Horne living at Stirkoke. (This man's death was recorded in the John O'Groat Journal of Friday 6th May 1842: see Am Baile, Highland History and Culture.) There was also another tacksman named Horn, at a slightly earlier date: the book Caithness Monumental Inscriptions – pre-1855, by A. S. Cowper and I. Ross, reports an inscription relating to one Peter Horn, Tacksman of Quoycrook, who died in 1758 aged 59. Whether or not either of these men were related to William husband of Elizabeth Sutherland – or indeed to William the father of "my" Elizabeth Horne – I cannot say.

The Journal of James Robertson, from James Irvine Robertson's archive, includes an excerpt (quoted below) in which James Robertson (1799–1876) recounts the words of a Caithness man referred to as "Collector McLeay". James Robertson also supplies some of his own memories and opinions concerning the Hornes.

He [McLeay] says that Ulbster and Hempriggs are the best Estates in Caithness; about £7000 per annum each. Sir George Sinclair's family are an illegitimate branch of that of Caithness. From his account Sir George Dunbar of Hempriggs has not assumed the Title of Duffus in consequence of its being disputed by the Rudds.

The people of Caithness are generally speaking moral, the women remarkable for beauty, and many of them despite their morality become prostitutes. There are a number of Campbells among the lower orders whose ancestors he supposes were left by Breadalbane's Army in Charles II' time. There are also several Oliphants.

One district, consisting of three or four parishes, is Gaelic. And the Gaelic language was spoken over the greater part of the County within the last 100 years. He himself has seen a man ploughing in Caithness with a Cow and a young woman drawing the plough!

The grandfather of Donald Horne WS was a blacksmith, without any connexions among the gentry, but a clever fellow who made money, bought a piece of land called Scouthal, gave his family a good education, and was latterly received in Society. One son, if I remember right, entered the Army and died s.p. Another was Count Horne who made a considerable fortune as a WS and died a batchelor. He left the bulk of his means to his nephew Donald.

I remember the Count, an old man with a large red nose (which the Collector says he derived from his father) crawling about the streets of Edinburgh and turning round as a young and pretty girl passed and gaping after her with a goatish stare. This propensity also he derived from the old blacksmith, and among them they transmitted it to Donald whose pranks are notorious, and were at one time likely to prove dangerous to himself. Donald's father had the same failing. He lived always in the Country, married a respectable lady of the name of Williamson, and enjoyed an indifferent reputation. He in fact was about the worst man of the Clan.

Donald's eldest brother William is a barrister, Sheriff of Haddington, and has no family. Macleay says that he lately heard that his (W Horne's) debts amount to £120,000, and that he is placed under Trust. I would have been less surprised to hear the same story of Donald. They have a younger brother John in the Honourable East India Company Service. The Caithness family have an Estate of about £2500 per annum.

The book "The Silent General: Horne of the First Army", by Don Farr (Helion and Company, 2007), has this to say about the ancestry of General Lord Horne of Stirkoke:

On 19 February 1861 Mrs Constance Mary Horne gave birth to her fourth child and third son, the boy who was to become General Lord Horne of Stirkoke. The birth took place at Bilbster House, about five miles west of Wick, Caithness, one of a number of properties owned by Major James Horne, father of the new born child. The infant was given the names Henry Sinclair at his baptism, which was conducted at St John's Episcopal Church, Edinburgh, by his father's younger brother, the Rev John Horne, Church of England vicar of Earley in the county of Berkshire.

The Horne family connections with the area of Caithness surrounding the fishing town of Wick were well established before the beginning of the nineteenth century. There is an early reference to a Jane Horne, who gave birth in 1773 to Alexander Gunn (who was destined to become a distinguished Church minister based at Watten, only a mile or so from Bilbster). Jane had a brother who was to become known as John Horne of Stirkoke. Their father was William Horne, described as a Tacksman of Scouthill, Watten, who died at the age of 79 on 29 September 1831.

The author clearly has the dates wrong. Jane who gave birth in 1773 was surely born before 1760, when her father who died at age 79 in 1831 was at most nine years old! The information from the "History of the Society of Writers to his Majesty's Signet" has been misinterpreted: it was James Horne who died on 29/9/1831, not his father, William the Tacksman.

Stirkoke
Stirkoke House
(The Highland Council
Historic Environment Record)

"The Silent General" continues with the following information:

John Horne of Stirkoke had at least two sons, William and Donald. The latter, destined to be Lord Horne's grandfather, was born on 20 May 1787. He was married on 1 June 1821 to a Jane Ogilvie of Chesters, Roxburghshire, who was to leave him a widower after only 13 years of marriage. Donald earned his living as a "Writer to the Signet" ("WS"), an Edinburgh based lawyers' body which originally dealt with Scottish crown and government matters. Before her early death, Donald's wife produced at least three sons, the eldest of whom was to become the father of Lord Horne. Donald was to die, aged 83, on 23 June 1870.

The Horne family's close connection with Stirkoke estate began with John Horne of Stirkoke's purchase of the property in 1822. In 1827 Lord Horne's great uncle, William Horne, succeeded to the property and added others. But he was made bankrupt in 1843 after which the estate was administered by James Brown, an accountant from Edinburgh. In 1853 the estate was purchased by Major James Horne, thus keeping it in the family ...

We can safely identify Jane, mother of Alexander Gunn, with Jean, the daughter of William Horne and Elizabeth Sutherland baptized on 20/11/1751. She married John Gun in Watten on 13/3/1774, and their son Alexander was baptized on 25/1/1775 in Watten. They also had a son William baptized on 2/5/1777 in Wick, and a daughter Catharine baptized on 26/5/1793 in Bower. Jean's brother John (baptized 27/6/1754), who in due course became known as John Horne of Stirkoke, married Elizabeth Williamson on 3/10/1783; baptism records exist for their children Donald (Halkirk, 26/5/1787), James (Halkirk, 17/11/1789), Isabella (Halkirk, 5/1/1792), Margaret (Bower, 22/11/1795), Elizabeth (Bower, 21/1/1798) and John (Bower, 6/2/1800). I have not been able to find a baptism record for William, their eldest child, but he was 71 when he died in June 1856. William inherited Stirkoke from his father, while Donald inherited Langwell from his father's twin brother James.

Since FamilySearch.org has two entries for Margaret Horne's baptism, one giving the year as 1795 and one giving it as 1796, I actually purchased the image so that I could see for myself which was correct. It is definitely 1795. The confusion arises because the page is headed "baptisms 1796", but the first entry on the page has the date clearly written as November 1795. The next entry bears the date 24th January (1796, no doubt). The text of the baptism entry for Margaret Horne reads as follows: "John Horne Esq. of Lynegare, Stanstill, by Mrs Eliza Williamson had his lawful dautr. Margaret born 9th and bap. 22.d Nov. 1795. Wit.s Rev.d Mr Ross & John Gunn." Observe that the second witness was the new-born child's uncle.

A Google search for "Stanstill" revealed that it is a place in Bower parish, although the "Statistical Accounts" (quoted above) told us that Lynegar is in Watten. I suppose the property must lie partly in one parish and partly in the other.

Elizabeth, the daughter of William Horne and Elizabeth Sutherland baptized on 25/10/1749, married William Stewart in Watten on 16/2/1769. Their eldest son, William, had a distinguished military career, reaching the rank of major-general. From 1825 to 1827 the then Colonel William Stewart was Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. He governed the colony for 18 days in 1825, from the departure of Governor Brisbane to the arrival of Governor Darling. More information can be found in the Biographical Entry for William Stewart (1769–1854) in the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, and in a Memoir of the Late Major-General Stewart, published in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal on 15/4/1854. Note that although it seems that no record his baptism survives, the fact that he had a son named James Horne Stewart supports our contention that his mother was Elizabeth Horne. Moreover, the September 1832 issue of Johnstone's Monthly Register of Public Events contains a notice of the death of Mrs Elizabeth Horne, aged 83, mother of General William Stewart.

Eliz Horne death
Johnstone's Monthly Register of Public Events, Sept 1832

The sister of General Stewart referred to in the above notice was Magdalina, Elizabeth Horne's last child, who was baptized on 13/5/1790 in Reay, and married Donald Munro on 7/2/1828 in Thurso. The other children of William Stewart and Elizabeth Horne that I know of were Elizabeth (baptized 1/12/1772 in Watten), Ann (baptized 20/3/1775 in Watten), Neill (baptized 10/10/1776 in Watten), James (baptized 1/11/1778 in Thurso), Margaret (baptized 5/4/1781 in Thurso), Anne (baptized 6/8/1783 in Watten), Jean (baptized 29/9/1785 in Watten) and Johanna (baptized 18/10/1787 in Reay). Although the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal article mentioned above says that Major General Stewart was a younger son of William Stewart, it also says that he was aged 85 when he died on 8/4/1854, and since his parents were married on 16/2/1769 it seems more likely that he was actually their eldest child. I suppose it is possible that his father had been married previously.

There was also a John Stewart, a farmer, who died in Greystones Watten on 28/11/1856, aged 86, and is buried in Halkirk Churchyard. Two of his sons are referred to in newspaper articles as nephews of Major General Stewart, apparently indicating that he was a brother of the general. The death registration document for this John Stewart does indeed say that his mother's name was Elizabeth Horne, but it also gives his father's name as Donald Stewart rather than William Stewart. So it seems likely that he was a brother of the James Stewart, son of Donald Stewart and Elizabeth Horne, baptized on 13/11/1774 in Halkirk. The only explanation that I can think of is that brothers Donald and William Stewart both married women named Elizabeth Horne, and John Stewart of Greystones was a first cousin of Major General Stewart rather than a brother.

John Stewart death
Sydney Morning Herald 3/3/1847
Neil Stewart gold
Bathurst Free Press and Mining
Journal
24/5/1851
sub-commissioner
The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River
General Advertiser
9/6/1852

In "Caithness Family History", on p. 218, we are told that "David Calder of Strath and Pennyland sold Strath in 1801 to William Stewart in Dounreay, father of the late General Stewart", and a reference to a registered copy of sale of the lands at Strath of Bylbster extending to Pennyland in the parish of Wattin, held in the Lancashire Record Office (of all places!), shows that William Stewart paid £1100 for this property. The entry for Watten in the Statistical Accounts of Scotland (1834–1845) lists Major-General William Stewart of Strath &c. as one of the chief land-owners in the parish (along with William Horne of Stirkoke and three other people). It is perhaps worth noting that the entry for Watten was written by the Rev Alexander Gunn, who I believe was the son of the Alexander Gunn mentioned above (son of John Gunn and Jean Horne).

Searching the web uncovered several further references to the Hornes of Scouthel, Langwell and Stirkoke. The "History of the Speculative Society of Edinburgh", printed for the Society in 1845, lists William Horne as a member, and says this:

         WILLIAM HORNE.      Admitted, December 23, 1806.
                             Extraordinary, January 16, 1810.
         Afterwards of Stirkoke, Caithness-shire. Called to the Scottish
           Bar in 1806. Sheriff of Haddingtonshire.
               Essays. — Suicide.
                         The policy of renewing the Charter of the East
                            India Company.
                         Popular Instruction.

I would hazard a guess that William was in favour of renewing the charter of the East India Company, since his younger brother joined that organization.

There is another amusing extract from Memorabilia Domestica concering James Horne of Langwell:

The Hon. James Sinclair was, with his amiable wife, a resident proprietor in the parish of Resolis in 1826. According to the old regime, Caithness and Bute returned members to the House of Commons alternately. Bute had returned a member to the last Parliament, which was dissolved sometime in the beginning of the summer of this year. The electors' turn of Caithness next came to send their representative. The family of Ulbster, though not the highest in rank, was the most potent in point of territory in the county. Sir John Sinclair, accordingly, for a long series of years, was, alternatively with the representative for Bute, elected M.P. for Caithness. His son Mr. George Sinclair succeeded him; but on the present occasion an opposing candidate was started, supported by Mr. James Horne of Langwell, who got a majority of the proprietors to give him their votes. The opposing candidate was Mr. James Sinclair of Braelangwell. The election took place on the 3rd July, and the Honble. James carried his election by five votes. The vanquished candidate, however, though rejected by the electors, was honoured by the multitude. He was carried in procession in a chair of state, with colours flying and a band of music, mingled up with the loudest plaudits of the populace, whilst his successful opponent and his agent Mr. Horne were saluted with every mark of scorn and contempt.

The fact that he recounts this tale suggests to me that the Rev. Sage did not have a high opinion of James Horne.

Parliament was reformed in 1832, the franchise being widened though still restricted to people satisfying a property qualification. Understandably, prospective MP's were keen to ensure that they had the support of a majority of the new electors, and there were allegations that property was gifted to people on the understanding that they would vote the right way. A parliamentary Select Committee was established to investigate "Fictitious Votes in Scotland", and Donald Horne was one of those summoned to give evidence. Courtesy of Google Books, the minutes (including Donald Horne's evidence) are available online. As I understand it, in 1832 a Whig candidate had won the election in Selkirkshire by a handful of votes, and in 1833 Donald Horne, acting as an agent for Tory supporters, had negotiated the purchase of several properties in the county, the principal aim of these transactions apparently being to increase the number of Tory electors in the county. The Whigs were also doing the same thing, both sides claiming that their activities were motivated (at least in part) by a desire to counteract the activities of their opponents. No doubt it was all perfectly legal.

There was a legal action brought by William Horne of Scouthel against the Marquess or Breadalbane and the trustees of Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, heard on 23/1/1835. The proceedings tell us that "by contract of sale, dated 2lst March and 20th April 1715, John Lord Glenorchy sold to Francis Horne of Stirkoke, his heirs, &c. the lands of Sybster and other lands ...". (See http://www.archive.org/details/decisionscourts06scogoog, page 163.) I initially took this as evidence that William Horne had an ancestor named Francis Horne, who was already rich in 1715. But reading a little further on in the proceedings one finds the words "the aforesaid Francis Sinclair", and there is no further mention of any Francis Horne. So I guess that there was not, after all, any Francis Horne, and maybe James Horne was the first of the family to become very rich. Nevertheless, I (obstinately) think that his father, though a smith, had middle-class family connections, perhaps by his marriage.

It appears that William Horne was initially successful in the legal action mentioned above, but that eventually on appeal the matter was decided in the House of Lords in 1842, and William Horne lost. This could have something to do with his bankruptcy, mentioned above.

My aim in spending so much effort investigating these Hornes was to settle, one way or the other, the question of whether my ancestor William Horne (husband of Grissel Campbell) was or was not the younger brother of James Horne of Langwell, John Horne of Stirkoke, Elizabeth wife of William Stewart and Jean wife of John Gunn. At last, I believe I have found some real evidence that he was not, namely the baptism record for Donald Horne, son of John Horne and Elizabeth Williamson. It reads as follows: "Donald lawful son to Mr John Horne and Mrs Elizabeth Williamson at Deall was baptized 26.th May — Witnesses Benjamin Williamson Esq.r of Banniskirk and Lieu.t William Horne at Stansill". Benjamin Williamson was a brother of Elizabeth Williamson, and it seems to me probable that Lieutenant William Horne was John Horne's younger brother.

All this ties in nicely with Collector McLeay's memories, quoted above, according to which one of Blacksmith Horne's sons joined the army and died sans prole (without issue). Note that William Horne's social status was evidently high enough for him to become an officer (and necessarily a gentleman).

Stansill, the address given for Lieutenant William Horne, is presumably meant to be Stanstill, and the same place that was the address of John Horne and Elizabeth Williamson when their daughter Margaret was baptized eight years later.

I know nothing more about Lieutenant Horne. Perhaps, like his nephew John, he was in the service of the Honourable East India Company. My ancestor William Horne, though probably distantly related to the more illustrious Hornes, undoubtedly followed a much more humble vocation. In fact, the registration record of the death of his daughter Elizabeth in 1885 says that her late father was a farmer.

Children of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne

Having (perhaps) sorted out the William Hornes, it is high time for me to get on with my real task: investigation of my own ancestors and their descendants.

Recall that William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne were married at Halkirk on 20/6/1807 and had thirteen children, listed again below for convenience. Baptism records survive for twelve of them, and are included in the IGI as "community contributed" records. (See above for my transcriptions of the images of the original records.)

William, my greatgreatgrandfather, is discussed on another page.

The IGI has all the baptism dates listed as birth dates, although probably all of the children were at least a few days old at their baptisms. The birth date 6/6/1834 for Peter is taken from [CS], and apparently appears on his gravestone. The IGI transcription has the second child as Christina rather than Christian; no doubt this was a typing error.

The existence of James is known from later records, such as census records (see below).

The first Alexander evidently died in infancy.

Apart from the baptism record, all that is known of the son Donald is what appears in a letter of 13/5/1851, reproduced below, from his mother to his brother William. She complains that William and Donald have both forgotten her, neither having written to her since their father died. By contrast, their brother Sandy "is very mindful of me".

I thought at first that William must have been shamed by his mother's words, since about a month later he named his eldest son "William Horne Campbell", thereby honouring his mother. But since William was at this time living in South Australia, the letter would have taken several months to reach him; so the naming of the infant must actually have taken place well before the letter was received.

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Letter from Elizabeth Campbell (née Horne) to her son William, 13/5/1851.
(Click images for higher resolution versions)

(The images above are photographs of a photocopy of the original. On the last line of page 1 the bottoms of the g (in "got") and the y in ("yet") are missing from the photocopy.)

We can deduce from the letter that Donald migrated to America.

At the time of the letter Alexander, who was a blacksmith, was 33 years old and unmarried. He married later that year. The Peter referred to must be the youngest son of the family, then aged about 17, who later became a mariner. The letter seems to me to be saying that Alexander was paying for Peter to attend school, but I do not know what is meant by "and he is going to put him to a bead" (if that is what it says).

The censuses of 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 give the following information about the family:

Sibster, Halkirk, 1841:
NameSexAgeOccupationBorn in Caithness
Willm CampbellM55Tenant         Yes
Elizabeth CampbellF45         Yes
Christy CampbellF25         Yes
James CampbellM15         Yes
Betsey CampbellF11         Yes
Grace CampbellF9         Yes
Peter CampbellM6         Yes
Burn of Halkirk, 1851:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplaceRemarks
Eliza. CampbellHeadWF55Farm of 10 AcresHalkirk, Caithness
Christy CampbellDauUF35PauperHalkirk, CaithnessDisability: Sick
James CampbellSonUM24Working on the FarmHalkirk, Caithness
Gracy CampbellDauUF17Working on the FarmHalkirk, Caithness
Peter CampbellSonUM14Working on the FarmHalkirk, Caithness
Burn of Halkirk, 1861:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
James CampbellHeadUM30FarmerHalkirk, Caithness
Elisabeth CampbellMotherWF70Farmer's MotherHalkirk, Caithness
Ann CampbellSisterUF27Domestic ServantHalkirk, Caithness
Donald CampbellNephewUM7ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
Hugh GrantServntUM14ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
1871:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
James CampbellHeadUM44Farmer of 70 AcresHalkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth CampbellMotherWF70Halkirk, Caithness
Margaret ChristieServantUF21General Domestic ServantWick, Caithness
Andrew HorneServntM16Farm ServantWatten, Caithness

The ages of William and Elizabeth given in these census records are not consistent with the baptism dates given above. William would have been 64 on census day 1841, while Elizabeth would have been 53 in 1841, 63 in 1851, 73 in 1861 and 83 in 1871. However, the record of her death on 8/2/1885 gives her age as 96, consistent with the baptism record, and confirms that her parents were William Horne and Grace Campbell. I suppose that it is possible that in 1841 William and Elizabeth deliberately understated their ages for some strange reason, but my guess is that the errors are the result of someone's carelessness.

The date of the death of William Campbell is unknown, since Halkirk deaths were not recorded prior to 1851. But surely it was no more than a couple of years prior to Elizabeth's 1851 letter shown above.

William and Elizabeth's sons William and Thomas, and also their daughter Catherine, moved to Kirkwall, on Mainland Island in the Orkneys. William (junior) is listed on the communicant roll of St Magnus Church in Kirkwall in 1837. He married Ann Slater in Kirkwall on 6/9/1838, his brother Thomas being one of the witnesses. The story of William and Ann, great great grandparents of mine, is continued on another page.

Catherine married James Sinclair at Kirkwall in 1843. James was born at Burray Isle, Orkney in 1819. They had the following children: Elizabeth (born 1845), William (born 1851), James (born 1854), Annie (born 1856), Eleanor (born 1860), Tomima (born 1862). At the time of the 1881 Census Catherine was a widow and living at 31 Bridge Road, Kirkwall. Here she had a lodging house. Her daughter Tomima, described as a dressmaker, was living with her. Subsequently Tomima married Alexander Young at Leith in 1889. Alexander was born at Hawick, Roxburghshire, in 1864. They had the following children: Catherine Campbell (born 1890), Magdalene Hunter (born 1892), Annie Sinclair (born 1894), Robert Norman (born 1896), Alexandra Mary (born 1897), Eleanor Elizabeth (born 1899) and James Sinclair (born 1905). Eleanor Elizabeth married Alexander Macdonald at Edinburgh in 1923. Alexander was born at Paisley, Renfrewshire, in 1899. They had two sons: Robert (born 1924, died at Edinburgh on 27/3/2005) and Alistair Young (born 1930).

The above information about Catherine and her descendants is taken verbatim from [CS]. The part that relates to Tomima's descendants was supplied to Paul Campbell by the late Bob Macdonald.

Thomas Campbell married Janet Slater at Kirkwall on 29/8/1839. They had the following children: Margaret (born 1840), William (born 1841), Elizabeth (born 1843), Janet (born 1846), Thomas (born 1855) and Alexander (born 1861). At the time of the 1881 census Thomas and Janet were living at Beefield, in Lady Parish on the island of Sanday in the Orkneys; their son Alexander was living with them. By the 1991 census Alexander was married, his wife's forename was Jane, and they had two children: Jane Jessie (age 6) and Mary (age less than 1 year). Thomas died in 1888 of emphysema. Janet was still living at the time of the 1891 census where she is shown as being 70 years old.

Here are transcriptions of the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 census records for the household of Thomas and Janet:

Viewfield, Kirkwall and St Ola, 1841:
NameSexAgeOccupationBorn in Orkney
Thomas CampbellM25Ag Lab        No
Janet CampbellF20        Yes
Margaret CampbellF1        Yes
William CampbellM3 months        Yes
Lady, 1851:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Thomas CampbellHeadMM33Farm ManagerHalkirk, Caithness
Janet CampbellWifeMF30Manager's wifeKirkwall, Orkney
Margaret CampbellDauUF11ScholarKirkwall, Orkney
William CampbellSonUM10ScholarKirkwall, Orkney
Elizabeth CampbellDauUF8ScholarKirkwall, Orkney
Janet CampbellDauUF4Kirkwall, Orkney
William MoodieServtUM23Farm Lab.Lady, Orkney
David SlaterServ.UM23Farm Lab.Lady, Orkney
James TullochServ.UM17Farm Lab.Cross, Orkney
Greeve's House, Lady, 1861:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Thomas CampbellHeadMM44Farm ManagerHalkirk, Caithness
Janet CampbellWifeMF41Formerly Domestic servKirkwall, Orkney
Jessie CampbellDauUF14Kirkwall, Orkney
Thomas CampbellSonM5ScholarKirkwall, Orkney
Alexander CampbellSonM9 monthsLady, Orkney
Brough Cottage, Cross & Burness, 1871:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Thomas CampbellHeadMM50Farm ManagerHalkirk, Caithness
Janet CampbellWifeMF48Kirkwall, Orkney
Thomas CampbellSonUM16ScholarKirkwall, Orkney
Alexander CampbellSonUM10Cross, Orkney
Jessie MuirGranddauUF3Cross, Orkney

It is remarkable how Thomas (the elder) did not age as quickly as the passing of years would normally dictate! I suppose that we can simply dismiss as wrong the ages given in the records of 1851, 1861 and 1871, and accept that this Thomas Campbell was the one born in 1813. The death record, which confirms that he was the son of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne, says that he was 73 when he died on 19/2/1888. He was actually at least 74.

It seems likely that the three year old Jessie Muir in the 1871 census record above was the daughter of John Muir and Jessie Campbell born on 7/11/1867 in Sanday. She had a brother named Thomas Alexander Muir born on 2/6/1869. Their parents were married on 6/9/1867 in Sanday.

Janette Thomson explained to me that in Scotland there was a commonly followed tradition to name the children of a family in the following way:

We see that indeed Thomas and Janet's first son and second daughter were named William and Elizabeth in honour of Thomas' parents, and their third daughter was named after Janet herself. So it is no surprise that the names of their first daughter and second son – Margaret and Thomas – are the names of Janet's parents. With the name Thomas already used, Thomas and Janet were free to name their third son after someone else.

Janet died on 31/3/1905. The death record gives her age as 85 and tells us that her parents were Thomas Sclater, a boatman, and Margaret Drever. According to FamilySearch.org, Janet Slater, daughter of Thomas Slater and Margaret Drever, was born on 3/6/1817, baptized on 22/6/1817, in Kirkwall and St Ola. So she was actually 87 when she died.

Janet had a brother named William who was born on 18/3/1811 in Lady Parish, Sanday. It is not known if the Annie Slater who married Thomas' brother William was related to Janet and William. She was not their sister, since her parents were James Slatter and Elizabeth Muir; however, these people were also from Lady, Sanday. Furthermore, another William Slater from Sanday – older than Janet's brother since he was married in 1822 – also enters our story, in that his son Robert married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of the William and Annie Campbell just mentioned. Again we do not know how or if this William Slater was related to our other Slaters. There is some more information about William and Robert on the William and Annie Campbell page.

We turn now to Alexander Campbell, the son of William and Elizabeth born in 1817. The information [CS] gives about him is as follows. He married Margaret Shearer on 28/11/1851, and they had at least eight children. One son, John James, who was baptized on 5/11/1870, died in Sydney NSW on 20/7/1894; he is buried in the Waverley cemetery, as are his uncle Peter and cousins Jemima Campbell and Annie Foulis (daughters of William). Alexander died on 17/2/1906 at Sibster, and is buried in the Westfield (Trostan) burial ground.

The Westfield burial ground section of Caithness Monumental Inscriptions – pre-1855 (Cowper and Ross) contains the following entry:

Alex Campbell d Sibster Halkirk 2.1906 88, w Margt Shearer d Baillie Westfield 1.6.1911 76 ss John Jas d Sydney NSW 7.1894 23, Thos Alex 4.12.1944 76 das Margt 21.2.1932 71, Eliz Chris d Westfield Lodge 7.11.1940 74, Isa 19.4.1946 89, Cath Jane d Thurso 14.1.1958

I was disappointed to find that the parish register record of the marriage of Alexander and Margaret does not give the names any witnesses, since such information might have provided additional confirmation that we are dealing with the right Alexander. But since John James Campbell born 5/11/1870, son of Alexander Campbell and Margaret Shearer, was buried in the company of Peter Campbell and two daughters of William Campbell, it is clear that his father was indeed the brother of Peter and William.

I was surprised to discover that Alexander was a blacksmith. I have not been able to locate him in the 1841 census; perhaps he was a "journeyman" blacksmith at that time, and not in Caithness. But I have located him in the censuses of 1851, 1861, 1871 and 1881.

Achscrabster, Halkirk, 1851:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Alexander CampbellHeadUM30BlacksmithHalkirk, Caithness
Achscrabster, Halkirk, 1861:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Alexander CampbellHeadMM43BlacksmithHalkirk, Caithness
Margt CampbellWifeMF27Blacksmith WifeThurso, Caithness
William CampbellSonM8ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
Isabella CampbellDauF4Halkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth C. CampbellDauF2Halkirk, Caithness
Margt CampbellDauF5 monthsHalkirk, Caithness
John GrantServntM22BlacksmithThurso, Caithness
Margt McGeeServntF16Domestic ServantOlrig, Caithness
Achscrabster, Halkirk, 1871:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Alexander CampbellHeadMM53BlacksmithHalkirk, Caithness
Margt CampbellWifeMF37Thurso, Caithness
Daniel CampbellSonM16Apprentice BlacksmithHalkirk, Caithness
Isabella CampbellDauF14Halkirk, Caithness
Margaret CampbellDauF10ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
Peter CampbellSonM7ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth C. CampbellDauF4Halkirk, Caithness
Thomas A. CampbellSonM2Halkirk, Caithness
John J. CampbellSonM4 monthsHalkirk, Caithness
Achscrabster, Halkirk, 1881:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
Alexander CampbellHeadMM62BlacksmithHalkirk, Caithness
Margt CampbellWifeMF47Thurso, Caithness
Margaret CampbellDauF20Halkirk, Caithness
Peter CampbellSonM17Pupil TeacherHalkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth C. CampbellDauF14ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
Thomas M. CampbellSonM12ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
John J. CampbellSonM10ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
Catherine J. CampbellDauF5ScholarHalkirk, Caithness
James CampbellSonM1Halkirk, Caithness

It is natural to wonder where the son Daniel was in 1861. Since the 1861 census record for the household of Alexander's brother James (see above) includes a 7 year old Donald Campbell, nephew of James, it seems clear that this Donald was actually Alexander's son Daniel. According to a ScotlandsPeople Forename Variants web page, Daniel and Donald were regarded as interchangeable names.

Alexander died of old age on 17/2/1906. The death record confirms that the Alexander Campbell who married Margaret Shearer was indeed the son of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne. The informant was his son Thos Alex Campbell who was present when he died. The death occurred at Sibster, and Alexander's occupation was given as "farmer". Perhaps his son Daniel had taken over the blacksmith business.

James Campbell, the son of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne for whom we have no baptism record, married Margaret Christie on 10/8/1871 at Watten. No doubt this was the same Margaret Christie who was a servant in James' household on census day 1871. James and Margaret had a son, William, who was baptized on 14/9/1871. The 1901 census record for the household has the following information.

Address: Sibster Burn, Halkirk, 1901:
Number of rooms with a window: 3
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationemployer/workerBirthplace
James CampbellHeadMM74Farmeremployer (working at home)Halkirk, Caithness
Margaret CampbellWifeMF51Farmer's wifeHalkirk, Caithness
William CampbellSonSM29Farmerworker (working at home)Halkirk, Caithness
Margaret McLeodServSF14DomesticworkerThurso, Caithness

James died on 19/4/1901. His death was registered by his son William, and his age was given as 78 years.

Peter, the youngest son of William Campbell and Elizabeth Horne, became a mariner, and – according to family folklore – a captain. He eventually settled in Sydney, and died there on 5/10/1918 (aged 84). He lived at 56 Prospect Road, Summer Hill. His niece, Jemima, was his housekeeper for many years. Peter and Jemima are both buried in the Waverley cemetery, along with Peter's nephew John James Campbell and Jemima's sister Annie Foulis, in General Section 9, Graves 1557 and 1558.

Grace Campbell, the daughter of William and Elizabeth born in 1831, married Donald Young in Halkirk on 19/12/1856. Grace's age is understated in the census records of 1861, 1871 and 1881, but is correctly given in 1901. Perhaps by that time she had given up pretending!

West Watten, 1861:
NameRelStatusAgeOccupationBirthplace
Donald YoungHeadM27Toll CollectorWatten, Caithness
Grace YoungWifeM25Toll Collector's wifeHalkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth YoungDau3Watten, Caithness
James YoungSon11mWatten, Caithness
Village of West Watten, 1871:
NameRelStatusAgeOccupationBirthplace
Donald YoungHeadM37MerchantWatten, Caithness
Grace YoungWifeM35Halkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth YoungDau13ScholarWatten, Caithness
James YoungSon11ScholarWatten, Caithness
William YoungSon8ScholarWatten, Caithness
John YoungSon5ScholarWatten, Caithness
Ann C. YoungDau4Watten, Caithness
Alexander YoungSon10mWatten, Caithness
Address: Sibster, Halkirk, 1881:
Number of rooms with a window: 2
NameRelStatusAgeOccupationBirthplace
Donald YoungHeadM47CooperWatten, Caithness
Grace YoungWifeM46Halkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth YoungDauU23Domestic ServantWatten, Caithness
James YoungSonU20JoinerWatten, Caithness
Ann C. YoungDau14General ServantWatten, Caithness
Alexander YoungSon10ScholarWatten, Caithness
Isabella YoungDau7ScholarWatten, Caithness
Donald P YoungSon3Watten, Caithness
Address: Sibster, Halkirk. 1901:
Number of rooms with a window: 2
NameRelStatusAgeOccupationemployer/workerBirthplace
Donald YoungHeadM67Cooperown account (working at home)Watten, Caithness
Grace YoungWifeM68Cooper's wifeHalkirk, Caithness
Elizabeth YoungDauS42Watten, Caithness
Isabella YoungDauS26Watten, Caithness
David RossGrandson3Halkirk, Caithness

Although these records may seem to suggest that Donald became a cooper at a relatively late age, he probably learnt the trade early on: his father was a cooper, as an 1841 census record shows. His parents were named John and Isabella, and their 1841 household included three children: James (9), Donald (7) and Helen (5). Their address was Graystones, in Watten. At the 1851 census Donald, who was 17 and an Agricultural Labourer, was the Head and sole member of his household, at Gray Stones. His parents (John and Bell) were at Bylbster, with a 15 year old daughter named Margaret. Since I cannot find Margaret in the 1841 census, or Helen in the 1851 census, I wonder if perhaps the 1851 census enumerator accidentally wrote down the wrong name, and "Margaret" was actually Helen. Whatever way, John, Isabella and Helen were back at Greystones in 1861. Helen was now blind. In 1871 Isabella (widow, annuitant, age given as 70) and Helen (knitter, age 30) were living at Bylbster, and the census record says of Helen "blind from smallpox".

Grace Young, née Campbell, died on 13/5/1922 at age 91, in Georgemas, Halkirk Parish. The death record says that she was the widow of Donald Young, Agrict Labourer. The record confirms that her parents were William Campbell, described as a Crofter, and Elizabeth Campbell, maiden surname Horne. The informant was her nephew, David A Ross, who was present when she died.

I have no further information concerning Elizabeth and Ann, the daughters of William and Elizabeth born in 1826 and 1828. Since the 1861 census record of James' household shows that Ann was unmarried at that time, and a domestic servant, it seems likely that in 1841 and 1851 she was a servant in some household not too far from Halkirk. I found one interesting possible candidate.

Laid Of Dunn, Watten, 1841:
NameSexAgeOccupationBorn in Caithness
Ronald GrantM30Farm Servant         Yes
Andrew BruceM30Farm Servant         Yes
James SwansonM20Farm Servant         Yes
Benjn AlexanderM15Farm Servant         Yes
Donald GunnM30Agricultural Labourer         Yes
Janet CambleF30Female Servant         Yes
Angus GunnM1         Yes
Ann CambleF10Female Servant         Yes

Is it even possible that the Janet Camble here is the daughter of William and Elizabeth who was baptized on 18/1/1822? Of course the age is way out, but census records are notorious for such errors.

So far I have had no success at all searching for Ann in 1851 census records. But I have found one possibility for Janet.

Argyle Square, Wick, 1851:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplaceRemarks
Alexr McPersonHeadWM75Rope, Sail Maker
  Emp 1 Foremn
Halkirk, Caithness7 Journeymen, 4 apprentices,
  5 whellboys
Isabilla McPersonDauUF34Wick, Caithness
Janet CampbellServntF25Halkirk, Caithness

It transpires that Janet Campbell married James Smith of Duncansby in Canisbay Parish, in 1853. Indeed, if the parish records are to be believed, they married twice: once in her home town and once in his home town! The event made it into the parish records of both Halkirk (which has "married on 18th February") and Canisbay (which has "contracted: 13th January, married: 4th March").

Here is the 1861 census record for the household of James and Janet.

Newton, Canisbay, 1861:
NameRelStatusSexAgeOccupationBirthplace
James SmithHeadMM42Crofter & FishermanCanisbay, Caithness
Janet SmithWifeMF38Crofter & Fisherman's WifeHalkirk, Caithness
Barbara SmithDauF7School, Crofter & Fisherman's DaughterCanisbay, Caithness
Elizabeth SmithDauF6Crofter & Fisherman's DaughterCanisbay, Caithness
John SmithSonM4Crofter & Fisherman's SonCanisbay, Caithness
Janet SmithDauF2Crofter & Fisherman's DaughterCanisbay, Caithness
Catherine SmithDauF8 monthsCrofter & Fisherman's DaughterCanisbay, Caithness

I am told that they also had a daughter Williamina (1862–1939) and a son James (1864).

Janet died in Duncansbay, Parish of Canisbay, on September 18th 1898, as a result of "softening of the brain". The death record gives her name as Jessie Smith, age 75, widow of James Smith, farmer; the informant was her son John. The death record also states that her parents were William and Elizabeth Campbell, mother's maiden surname Horne. So we do have the right person.

If you have any corrections, complaints, criticisms, suggestions or additional information, please email bobhow@tpg.com.au.