Colour Sergeant Donald Campbell

Friday, November 24th, 2023

By Morag T Fyfe

Donald Campbell was only 43 (or possibly 44) years old when he died on 2 March 1862 from enteritis. He had been discharged from the 91st Foot almost exactly four years previously as being unfit for further service and had settled in Glasgow with his wife Ann and son Kenneth. When Donald was discharged in January 1858 he had served just over half his life in the army and spent time in St Helena, South Africa and Greece; he was probably fortunate not to have served in the West Indies or India.

Donald Campbell was born in Alness, Ross and Cromarty probably in 1818 but his birth/baptism has not been found (his death certificate names his father as Roderick Campbell and no mother is named).

He enlisted in the 91st (Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot at Tain, Ross and Cromarty on 17 October 1836 aged 18. He must have made an impressive recruit as he was 6ft 3in tall. The 91st had recently been stationed in Ireland but was deployed to St Helena at the end of 1835. After initial training at the regimental depot in Naas, county Kildare Donald went to St Helena as part of a party of reinforcements. His service record shows he served there for 3 years 5 months so he must have been on St Helena roughly 1837 to 1841. This suggests that Donald was part of the detachment left on St Helena in June 1839 when the rest of the regiment sailed for South Africa. In 1840 the companies left on St Helena were involved in the exhumation of the body of the Emperor Napoleon prior to its return to France. Napoleon had died in 1821 and in October 1840 a squadron of French ships arrived to collect his remains and take them back for burial in Paris. The 91st played a part in the ceremonial which marked this event and it seems likely Donald Campbell was involved.

Removal of Napoleon's Body from St Helena

Removal of Napoleon’s Body from St Helena

In December 1842 the remaining companies of the 91st were ordered to proceed to South Africa and rejoin the main body of the regiment. For the next five and a half years Donald served in South Africa and took part in what was then called the Kaffir War of 1846-7. This was the seventh of nine wars which took place in the nineteenth century between the British and the Boers, against the Xhosa people caused by increasing pressure on land and other resources. In 1856 a medal was issued to the troops who took part in the war. Soon after reaching South Africa Donald received promotion to corporal in July 1843 and an extra 1d per day good conduct pay in October 1843. After seven years in the regiment, he had obviously settled in well and was starting to make a career for himself. Promotion to sergeant followed quickly in July 1844 but then came a temporary setback when Donald faced a regimental court martial on 23 December 1846 on the charge of ‘drunkenness on escort’. He was reduced back to private but the sentence was remitted and he was reinstated as sergeant on 25 December 1846. At this time the regimental history states that the regiment was heavily involved in guarding convoys of supplies.

In 1848 the 91st returned to Britain and spent the next few years at home. During this period the regiment first spent time in the south of England at Gosport and Dover before moving north to Preston, Liverpool and Manchester. The 1851 census helpfully confirms Donald’s location on census night as being Liverpool. Later in 1851 the regiment crossed to Ireland and remained there in various locations until 1854.

During this period Donald continued to make good progress in his career, being promoted colour sergeant in April 1851. He felt sufficiently secure to marry Ann Corner also from Ross and Cromarty soon after his return from South Africa. There seems to be no record of their marriage in either England or Scotland but the Scottish records for this period are patchy and one wonders whether he returned home on leave to Alness to marry a daughter of George Corner the church officer at Munlochy just along the coast from Alness. George had a daughter of a suitable age according to the 1841 census. It is an interesting speculation but no more than that. The marriage resulted in the birth of a son, Kenneth, in Gosport in 1849.

Between 1853 and 1856 Britain and France were at war with Russia in support of the Ottoman Empire (the Crimean War). The 91st only played a peripheral part in this conflict. Newly independent Greece took advantage of the war to try and expand its territory by invading Thessaly and Epirus still under Ottoman control. To block further moves by Greece, Britain and France sent a force to occupy the Piraeus and the 91st was part of this force. The regiment left Ireland for Malta late in 1854 and reached Greece in early 1855. Thirty women and fifty-one children accompanied the regiment, but it is not known whether Ann and Kenneth were among this group. The regiment landed at Piraeus, the port for Athens in March 1855 and were stationed there for the next two years until the Allied forces withdrew, the 91st moving to the Ionian Islands which were a British protectorate at the time.

By this time Donald had been in the army for twenty years and it was becoming obvious he was no longer physically fit enough to be a soldier. In November 1857 a regimental board was convened on Cephalonia (Donald was on detachment on Ithaca at the time) to consider his discharge. The regimental surgeon described him as ‘worn out from long service and climate’ and he was deemed unfit for further service. Donald was returned to England and at the end of December went before another medical board at the General Army Hospital, Fort Pitt, Chatham. The unreadable scrawl of the Principal Medical Officer at Chatham presumably confirmed the regimental surgeon’s verdict and Donald Campbell was discharged to pension on 24 January 1858 after serving for 21 years and 102 days.

It is not known why Donald and his family chose to settle in Glasgow rather than return to Alness or Munlochy but the family of three is found living in Weaver Street, Glasgow on census night 1861. Donald’s occupation is simply described as Chelsea pensioner but at his death the following year his occupation is given as ‘drill instructor’ which makes one wonder whether he had found employment with one of the Volunteer battalions in Glasgow.

Donald Campbell was buried on 5 March 1862 in common ground in compartment Eta of the Glasgow Necropolis. Nothing further is known about his wife or son.


Alexander and Charles Craig

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

By Morag T Fyfe

The local Glasgow newspapers are a fruitful source for interesting deaths which sometime result in burial in the Necropolis and the Glasgow Herald of 25 December 1857 provided the following interesting details.

Melancholy Affair – Suposed Suffocation.-Yesterday morning about half-past seven o’clock, James Hume, master of the schooner Catherine Campbell, of Belfast, presently lying at the South Quay [opposite the General Terminus Railway Depot], called his men to rise, from their berths in the forecastle and commence work. One of the hands, a young lad named Patrick M’Kinty, answered the call, after which the master went on shore to see the work begun. The other hands not making their appearance, he returned to the vessel and caused M’Kinty to light a candle and ascertain if all was right. The boy did so, and reported that he was afraid something was wrong. The master then immediately proceeded to the forecastle and found the two hands named, Alex. Craig and Charles Craig (cousins), lying dead. The master instantly reported the circumstance to the police. It appears that the unfortunate men, who were natives of Carlow, county Antrim, Ireland, had gone into the city the previous evening about six o’clock and returned to their vessel about eight, and went to bed. The boy remained on watch till relieved by the master at eleven o’clock, at which time he retired to bed in the same place with the Craigs. He did not speak to the men, and heard nothing of them until told by the master to call them. The case has been reported to the Fiscal, who has caused a post mortem examination to be made on the bodies.

James Hume, master of the Catherine Campbell, registered their deaths on the 28th December and the two cousins were buried that day by their shipmates in common ground in compartment Eta of the Necropolis. Alexander, son of Hugh Craig, farmer, was 20 and Charles, son of Alexander Craig, farmer was 18. In each case the cause of death given in the burial register was ‘supposed to be suffocated or poisoned’. Although it is reported that post mortems were carried out nothing further is reported in the newspapers so it looks as though the suggestion of poisoning was ruled out.

Catherine Campbell was a wooden sailing smack built by Scott & Son of Greenock for John Campbell of Glasgow in 1842. In 1852 she was sold to Wm Higgins and James Morrison of Grangemouth and in 1857 she was sold again to an unknown buyer in Belfast. She ran aground and was wrecked on 17th February 1874 near Amble on the East coast of England and was declared a total constructive loss.

Professor Joseph Coats MD Professor of Pathology, University of Glasgow

Friday, February 26th, 2021

By Ann O’Connell and Morag T Fyfe

Professor Joseph Coats

Historic Hospital Admission Records Project (HHARP)

In the afternoon of Friday 27th January 1899 an impressively large funeral took place at Glasgow Necropolis, a public service having been held earlier at the Adelaide Place Baptist Church. The cortege was a very long one, including no fewer than 20 coaches. The large attendance included the Principal and other members of the Senate of the University of Glasgow, and a representative body of the students, the committee of the University Club, along with a number of public citizens.

Who was this man of whom Sir William T Gairdner, a friend and colleague, said in an obituary “His memory will long remain in Glasgow without alloy of bitterness of any kind, for he was a man as gentle as he was religious”.

 Joseph Wilson Coats was born in Paisley on 4th January 1846, the youngest of the eight children of William Holmes Coats (1798-1889) and Mary Wilson. He had four older brothers: William (b.1832), Allan (b.1834), George (b.1843) and Jervis (b.1845) and three sisters Janet (b.1829), Margaret (b.1839) and Mary (b.1840). Census records show the family home as being 5 William Street, Paisley.

Coats Family 1856c

His family was a branch of the famous Coats family of Paisley that would rise to great prominence and wealth in the thread making business. The several branches of the Coats family in Paisley were involved in hams, thread or in the ministry and Joseph’s father was in business as a ham curer. Father William served on the Town Council and was an active member of the Baptist Church serving as Church Manager and Treasurer at Storie Street Baptist Church. His paternal grandfather was Jervis Coats (1772-1838). His great uncle was James Coats (1774-1857) founder of J&P Coats the thread makers.

The present house at 5 William Street, Paisley location of William H Coats family home.

The present house at 5 William Street, Paisley location of William H Coats family home.

There is disagreement in Coats’ obituaries as to where in Paisley he was educated. One obituary stated the John Neilson Institute and another the Grammar School. As the Institute was set up to educate poor orphaned boys it seems much more likely that Coats attended the Grammar School. At the age of 17 he came to Glasgow University (at its old site on High Street), where he studied for two years in the Arts classes, afterwards taking the full medical curriculum and graduating MB in 1867 with first-class honours

University career and interests.

Joseph Coats’ first position after graduating in 1867 was at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary as resident-assistant to Sir William Tennant Gairdner (1824-1907), Regius Professor of the Practice of Medicine at Glasgow University from 1862 to 1900, Medical Officer of Health for Glasgow from 1863 until 1872 and latterly the first Senior Physician of the Western Infirmary. Coats time there also coincided with that of Joseph Lister who was pioneering the use of carbolic acid as a sterilising agent at the time.

After serving his term as resident in the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Coats went to Leipzig, where, for a year, he engaged in experimental physiology in the laboratory of Professor Ludwig. Subsequently he studied pathological anatomy at Würzburg, under the pathologist Professor von Recklinghausen.

On his return from Germany in 1869 he was appointed pathologist to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, in succession to Dr. Samuel Johnston Moore, a post which he filled till 1875 during which time he took the degree of MD in 1870. During his tenure of office at the Royal, he worked at morbid anatomy and histology, with unceasing zeal, shown by his report books now preserved in the laboratory. The departmental museum also received his careful attention and, besides adding many specimens to its shelves, he published in 1872 the first printed catalogue of the collection. At the time he was not only the pioneer in pathological teaching, but for many years afterwards was the only teacher of the subject in Glasgow and his lectures were necessarily recognised by the University as qualifying for the degree.

By this time the University had moved to Gilmorehill and the newly built Western Infirmary became the University’s teaching hospital. Coats was appointed pathologist to the Western Infirmary in 1875 where he established the Glasgow School of Pathology.

He had always devoted himself to the work of teaching, and with his appointment to the Western the opportunity came for the full development of his powers in this direction. From 1876 onwards he was an independent teacher. Before that he had lectured merely as one of the assistants to the Professor of the Institutes of Medicine. His class which, till the opening of the new buildings in 1896, met in the Medical Lecture Room of the Western Infirmary, was one of the most popular in the medical curriculum. Coats was not a fluent or expressive speaker, and for the first few years he read his lectures; but after 1878, these were delivered without the aid of notes. In 1877 he commenced the teaching of practical pathology to a class of about four students; and by 1879 there were about a dozen. The accommodation then available for practical teaching was of the most meagre description, but the pathologist made the best of it, and there was no class in those days more thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated than “Coats’ practical”. In addition to his teaching he worked without ceasing at microscopic pathology, and his contributions to the literature on this subject were many and valuable. He showed what could be done on limited means. His workroom for twenty years was a small den, perhaps 12 feet square, with a table at which he and his assistant were wont to work, and frequently also to lunch when the work was particularly heavy during the summer session.

In 1882 he began the writing of his Manual of Pathology, the first edition of which appeared in 1883, and which went into several editions. From the first this book became one of the standard works on pathology in the language, and its publication established the reputation of its author as one of the foremost pathologists of the day. His work upon The Pathology of Phthisis Pulmonalis, published in 1888 in a volume entitled Lectures to Practitioners, in collaboration with Sir W. T. Gairdner, was also authoritative.

Until 1893 there was no Professor of Pathology in the University of Glasgow. The chair was founded by the University Commissioners in that year, and Coats, who for nearly twenty years had been professor in all but name, was unanimously called upon to fill it. There was a general feeling of satisfaction throughout the entire profession when the hard-working, self-denying pathologist received this reward of his labours. For many years the foundation of the chair had been talked of, and Coats must often have been expected to be appointeIn 1896 the Pathology Institute, a building to be jointly occupied by the University and the Western Infirmary, opened. Professor Coats was heavily involved in negotiations.  The new building contained a lecture-theatre, a post-mortem room, a museum with accommodation for 5,000 preparations on the shelves, a chemical laboratory, rooms for the pathologist and their assistants, a bacteriological laboratory, two large practical classrooms, rooms for private investigation, a large refrigerator, a mortuary and a chapel. It was designed by J. J. Burnet the Glasgow Architect of choice at that time. Around that time he also designed the McIntyre Building and the residences at University Gardens.

But just when his life’s reward had come the first symptoms of the illness destined to cut short his career became evident, and during the last three years his work was much interfered with by ill health.

As a pathologist, Coats made his mark rather as a morbid anatomist and histologist than as an experimenter. One thing Coats could impress upon his pupils was the close relationship between clinical medicine and pathological anatomy and physiology. His long -association with clinical work caused him to realise this in a sense that the mere laboratory worker could never hope to, and the clinical bearings and importance of his demonstrations were never forgotten – most important, surely, in a school where the great majority of the students were to become general practitioners of medicine. His example of continuous steady work had a most beneficial effect upon his pupils, all of whom regarded him with the respect which his upright and just character inspired; and those who were more closely associated with him in professional work looked upon him as the warmest of friends and the most generous of masters.

In addition to his University work, Coats was an active member of the medical societies of Glasgow, and he filled the offices of president at two of the most important: the Medico-Chirurgical and the Pathological and Clinical Societies. Of the latter, indeed, he was one of the founders. He always took a prominent part in the social life of the University, and in the promotion of the Students’ Union he was one of the most zealous workers. He was also an active member of the British Medical Association, and filled successively the offices of vice-president and president of their section of pathology.

The Glasgow University Union was formally opened in the new John McIntyre Building in 1890.

Family life

In 1879 Coats married Georgiana Wilson Taylor (1852-1927) who had historical ties with the Paisley Baptists. She was a cultured intellectual who, together with her husband, played a large part in the life of the community of Adelaide Place Baptist church. Coats himself held the offices of President of the Baptist Theological College of Scotland and Deacon of Adelaide Place Church, Glasgow.

Prior to his marriage Coats had lived in Bath Street and Elmbank Street and their first married home was just round the corner at 7 Elmbank Crescent. All these addresses were close to Adelaide Place church which was only a few blocks away along Bath Street at the corner of Pitt Street. However the 1881 census on 3rd April found the couple, along with two of Mrs Coats’ younger sisters at Gowanbank, on the West Bay, Dunoon, Argyll. This may have been an early Easter break at a favourite haunt as it is known that Joseph, his parents and family had been in the habit of spending five months each summer at Willowbank, Dunoon.

Lynedoch Street

By 1891 Mr and Mrs Coats are found living in Lynedoch Street, Glasgow with their two daughters Olive (1882-1975) and Victoria (1885-1940) and three servants. When Coats became Professor of Pathology at Glasgow University in 1893 they were the first residents at 8 University Gardens part of a new terrace designed by John James Burnet. Georgiana Coats survived her husband’s death by many years finally dying in 1927 while on holiday in Pitlochry. She had continued to live at 8 University Gardens for a number of years before moving to Queensborough Gardens. In 1929 Olive and Victoria published Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Coats: A Book of Remembrance compiled by Their Daughters in memory of their parents. Coats personal papers passed to the care of the University of Glasgow after the death of Olive Coats, his remaining daughter, in 1975.

8 University Gardens, Glasgow
By Lirazelf – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

His religious life and the Baptist Church

He was a deeply religious man, although in many things – such as Sabbatarianism – tolerant to a degree, seldom found in Scotland in the 1850s in any Protestant denomination. The Storie Street Baptist Church, of which he was a member, before he moved to Glasgow, had always been noted for its liberalism. Thus it was that young Coats – who dare not miss going to church twice on Sunday – could, after church hours, walk in the country, or even read a novel, as he often did, without any sign of parental disapproval. With such heredity, and such surroundings, it is no wonder he grew up a grave, thoughtful, simple man, righteous in all his ways, and caring much more to do justly than to earn the applause of men.

His final illness

The malady from which Professor Coats suffered, and which finally caused his death, was a malignant tumour of the splenic flexure of the colon. For a lengthened period the symptoms were of an obscure and puzzling character. They first appeared about 1896, and took the form of repeated feverish attacks, closely resembling those of malaria. Indeed, he himself at first thought that the disease might be malaria, which, he thought, he might possibly have contracted during a visit to Rome. After about two years a tumour was discovered in the left side of the abdomen, whose nature, however, long remained obscure. During a voyage to Australia the feverish attacks recurred several times, and in Egypt, on his way home, he suffered very severely from an attack of dysentery. During the later months of 1898, after he had suffered from one or two attacks of intestinal obstruction, the true nature of his disease became apparent. From this time he rapidly sank, and, in spite of all that medicine and surgery could do, he succumbed on the morning of 24th January, 1899.

The man and his legacy

Professor Coats was a much admired teacher but was known to have a coldness of demeanour and habit of scrutinising his students which instilled a bit of fear. But behind all this there was a kindness of heart, a single-mindedness of purpose, an innate inflexible sense of justice, and a passionate love for his work and his profession which united his intimates to him in the bonds of affection. The welfare and prosperity of his students were ever close to his heart, and if he was less given than most to the expression of his emotions, they were none the less real and sincere.”

At his funeral service The Very Reverend Principal Robert Story declared that:

“None could know him without feeling that he was one whose heart was clean, whose ways were gentle, whose affections were tender, whose aims were high. … He has left a lofty example and a worthy name of which his University is proud, a memory which we shall always cherish with affectionate regret, work achieved that will long bear wholesome fruit, though he himself has not lived to see it gathered.”

Coats Memorial


This biography is based primarily on the obituary of Joseph Coats written by his old friend and colleague Sir William T Gairdner and published in the British Medical Journal 4th February 1899, pp 317-319. The anonymous obituary in the Glasgow Medical Journal vol 51 January – June 1899, pp 108- 118 also proved most helpful. A third source was the second part of an article entitled The Coats family and Paisley Baptists published in the Baptist Quarterly vol 36, parts 1 & 2 (1995-6). Coats’ death and funeral were widely reported in many newspapers including, of course, the Glasgow Herald. References to him can be found on several parts of the University of Glasgow website (

Campbell, William Twaddle

Sunday, November 29th, 2020

The Crum Ewing Memorial

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

The burying place of HUMPHRY EWING CRUM EWING, of Strathleven Lord Lieutenant of Dumbartonshire HELEN DICK, his beloved wife Died August 27th 1883 HELEN TOLMIE DICK, their infant daughter Died July 30th 1833 HUMPHREY EWING CRUM EWING Died July 3rd 1887 JOHN DICK CRUM EWING, their second son Died October 15th 1890

HUMPHRY EWING CRUM EWING Junr Died at Better Hope Estate, Demerara March 12th 1878 and was buried here JANET CREELMAN ROBSON, his wife Died June 14th 1899


Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr of Strathleven (16 July 1802 – 3 July 1887)

Beta Compartment map location 132

Crum Ewing Memorial Panel

Crum Ewing Memorial Panel

Crum Ewing Memorial

Crum Ewing Memorial

Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr

Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr


Humphry was born on 16 July 1802 at ‘Renpenkore’, Thornliebank, (East) Renfrewshire, the third son of Alexander Crum (1769 – 1808) and Jane Ewing (1789 – 1852) [known as Jane Ewing Maclae because her father Walter Ewing changed his name to Walter Ewing Maclae when he inherited Cathkin House and estate, Carmunnock, (a conservation village now within the Glasgow city boundary) from his Uncle Walter Maclae of Cathkin who died in 1790].

Born Humphry Ewing Crum, Humphry added the second Ewing when he inherited Strathleven House and estate, Dumbartonshire, from his uncle, James Ewing, 1775-1853 (buried in Kappa compartment and profile at from his uncle with its estates in Jamaica and St Kitts, West Indies Humphry also inherited the business of James Ewing & Co. He was also a Director of the Colonial Company of London.

More information on the complicated name changes between, Maclaes, Ewings & Crums can be found at


As Humphry Crum, he was educated at Glasgow College (Glasgow University) and in 1825 he married Helen Dick (1792 – 1883) who is also included on this memorial. She was a daughter of Rev Dr John Dick (1764 – 1833) (buried in Omega Compartment – see his Profile

Initially Humphry worked in the Crum manufacturing and merchanting business jointly owned by his father Alexander Crum of Thornliebank, 1769 – 1808 (senior Partner) and his uncle, John Crum. The Crum business had started in the Gallowgate and moved to St Andrews Square before growing into the very substantial 35 acre operation it became in Thornliebank.

Humphry accompanied his brother Walter Crum FRS (memorial in Beta compartment), on a business trip to Smyrna in Asia Minor (Turkey) though Humphry separated from him in Sicily. There being no regular method of reaching Sicily in those days, most of the journey was in a Royal Navy man of war. When they reached Leghorn (now Livorno) in Italy, they stayed with their friend John Graham who had developed an early interest in art and bought a house in Leghorn at the age of fifteen. John was co-founder with his elder brother William Graham (1786-1856), of the well known Port wine shippers W & J Graham & Co in 1820 at Porto, Portugal. John Graham was tenant of Skelmorlie Castle from 1848 till his death in 1886 and was buried in Upsilon compartment.

In 1848 Humphry joined the firm of James Ewing & Co, working with his uncle James Ewing whose partner William Mathieson had died that year (memorial in Beta compartment). Though slavery had been abolished in the British Empire in 1833, fifteen years before Humphry joined James Ewing & Co, Humphry was very much involved with and became Chairman of the powerful West India Association of Glasgow whose Minutes from 1807 – 1969 are available in the City of Glasgow Archives held in the Mitchell Library – see

In a letter dated 21st March 1848 from James Ewing to Humphry E Crum (Ewing), it is perhaps not surprising to read that the financial returns on the sugar plantations had dropped markedly as a result of the end of slavery and that it was now very difficult to make a profit and compete with those places like Cuba which still continued the practice of slavery. This did not put Humphry off joining the company as a Partner.

With the abolition of slavery the value of plantation land reduced substantially and Humphry took the opportunity to purchase a series of plantations for the company in British Guiana (now Guyana, South America). The purchases included the plantations on the Atlantic coast east of the Demerara River known as Better Hope, Vryheid’s Lust, Brothers, Montrose and Felicity. According to notes in ‘Guyanese Sugar Plantations in the Late Nineteenth Century – a Contemporary Description from The Argosy’ (1883?) edited by Walter Rodney, these were considered to have the best soil of all the plantations in the country.

In order to improve the land further, a Linlithgow expert farmer, Mr McGibbon, was sent out to examine the land with a view to increasing the drainage so as to reduce the flooding caused by heavy tropical rain. A report was submitted with suggestions and an ‘army’ of people were sent out from Scotland. They set up a tile (clay drains) manufacturing unit and the drainage tiles were installed in the ground by Chinese labourers under instruction from Mr McGibbon. In addition, 2 pumping stations were constructed and the ‘canals’ between the plantations were widened to ease the flow from the drains.


Steam Tractor

Steam Tractor

Sadly, the first tropical downpour flooded the plantations so McGibbon used steam tractors to reduce the height of the embankments along the canals and this reduced by 50%, the height water required to be pumped and the pumping stations were then adequate for the job. Thereafter drainage water from the whole area was pumped by the 2 Fowler’s tractor engines on each of the two main agricultural departments. The value of the sugar plant at Vryheid’s Lust was reckoned to have cost £20,000 and a further £6,000 for steam powered machinery and tile making machinery.

The management of the plantations was divided into agricultural and manufacturing sections and the whole operation was under the management of a resident attorney who resided at Better Hope House.

Manufacturing did not include distillation of rum; it concentrated on the manufacture of sweet sugar from crystals to ‘jaggery’ (a concentrated solid from sugar cane juice). The best product was a grey sugar which went to be refined and the jaggery mostly went to European brewers. The low dark molasses was sold on the local market.

The area of the whole block of plantations was split into 1,897 acres / 768 hectares of sugar cane, 57 acres / 23 hectares for provisions, and 1,251 acres / 506 hectares of uncultivated land used for grazing. The crop was estimated as c. 3,300 hogsheads / 2290 tons / 2077 tonnes of mixed sugars. The labour force consisted of 210 locals, 121 indentured labourers (from India) and 1,498 not under “indenture”. The latter were probably ex-slaves who on 1st August 1834 would have been re-designated as “apprentices” and required to work 40 hours per week without pay, as part of the compensation payment to their former owners for their freedom. Full emancipation was finally achieved at midnight on 31 July 1838.

Canefield Layouts

Canefield Layouts


N.B. – The system known as ‘indentured labour’ commenced after the emancipation of the slaves in 1838 when new labour required to be payed for their work.

The Colonial British Government of India started to supply labour to the sugar plantations and if the plantation owners paid for an Indian’s passage to the plantation, a sum would be taken off their pay until the full cost was reimbursed after which the labourer kept his full pay. This process could take anything between 4 and 6 years. Many Indians moved to the plantations paying for their own passages and they, plus freed slaves, were referred to as ‘labour not under indenture’. Between 1838 and 1920, British Guiana received 238,909 people from India, and 13,533 people from China.

For more information on the indentured system in British Guiana see




It is thought that Humphry never went to British Guiana even though through James Ewing & Co he owned the plantations of Better Hope and Vryheid’s Lust, Brothers, La Bonne Mere, Felicity and Montrose, while personally he was ‘part proprietor’ of Canefield and Lochaber plantations. (see UCL’s Legacies of British Slave Ownership )

In the 1851 Census Humphry and his wife Helen Dick were living at 20 Woodside Terrace, Glasgow and it is thought by 1868 they had rented and were living at Mains House, New Kilpatrick.

Mains House, New Kilpatrick

Mains House, New Kilpatrick

On the death of James Ewing in 1853, despite having inherited Strathleven House, Dumbarton, and changing his name to Humphry Crum Ewing, Humphry was unable to move into Stathleven House. Jane Ewing, James Ewing’s widow, who was eleven years younger than Humphry, had been given the life rent of Strathleven House in her husband’s will. She outlived Humphry by nine years and did not die until 1896 aged 83.

Humphry and his family are recorded in the 1881 Census as living in Ardencaple Castle, Helensburgh which he rented from the Colquhouns of Luss and where he remained until his death on 3 July 1887.

Ardencaple Castle, Helensburgh

Ardencaple Castle, Helensburgh

Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing as Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire

Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing as Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire


He was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire on 23rd February 1874, a position he held till his death; he was also a JP for Dunbartonshire, Argyllshire, Lanarkshire, and Renfrewshire.

Humphry was politically minded and keen to become a Member of Parliament. He finally succeeded in November 1857 when he became a Liberal MP for Paisley, having failed in April of the same year. He served for seventeen years and retired in 1874 at the age of 72; however in 1887 he left the Liberal party and joined the Unionist party. During his time at Westminster he was a member of two London Clubs, the Reform Club and Union Club. His parliamentary involvement / record can be viewed on





Funeral report from

Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Friday, July 8, 1887

FUNERAL OF THE LORD-LIEUTENANT OF DUNBARTONSHIRE.—The funeral of the late Mr H.E. CRUM-EWING of Ardincaple Castle, Row, took place yesterday afternoon. The remains were conveyed from the Castle for interment in the Necropolis, Glasgow, at twelve o’clock, and were followed by a large concourse of mourners, including relatives, friends, the Sheriff-Principal and Sheriff- Substitute of Dunbartonshire and other county and Burgh authorities. The Rev. Mr Hislop, U.P. Church, Helensburgh, conducted the service. As the cortege, which consisted of 32 carriages, passed through the town the church bells were tolled, and the shops on the route were closed. Numerous groups of people witnessed the procession.

On Sunday July 10th 1887, a memorial service was held in Helensburgh United Presbyterian Church.


This 10” / 25Cms silver horn was presented to Paisley Archery Club in 1872 by Humphry Snr to be used as a competition trophy.

This 10” / 25Cms silver horn was presented to Paisley Archery Club in 1872 by Humphry Snr to be used as a competition trophy.


In the Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Glasgow, 3rd Jan 1871 it states–

Mr A H Dennistoun, Jun, exhibited a specimen of the Ptarmigan from Dunbartonshire, the locality being perhaps the furthest south of any known haunt of the species in Great Britain. This bird, which was in full summer plumage, had been shot by Mr Crum Ewing on the hills between Glen Fruin and Luss Glen, a haunt invested with additional interest from the circumstance of it being at a much lower elevation than the mountain tracts usually frequented by Ptarmigan.

[This was probably Alexander Crum Ewing, eldest son of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing & Helen Dick and elder brother of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Jnr. Alexander eventually inherited Strathleven House and estate but died in Jamaica in 1912]


There is another memorial to Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr, his wife Helen Dick, his Uncle, James Ewing and other family members in Dumbarton cemetery.

Crum Ewing Memorial - Dumbarton Cemetery

Crum Ewing Memorial – Dumbarton Cemetery

Crum Ewing Memorial – Dumbarton Cemetery

This memorial has three panels as below but those mentioned on the Glasgow Necropolis memorial are all listed in the left hand panel of this memorial.

Sacred to The memory of James Ewing
Born 7th Dec. 1775
Died 29th Nov. 1853
Also of
Humphry Ewing
Crum Ewing
Lord Lieutenant of
Dumbartonshire and
Member of Parliament
For Paisley 1857 to 1874
And of
His wife
Daughter of
John Dick DD
Born 27th Feb. 1792
Died 27th Aug. 1883

Sacred to
The memory of
Jane Elizabeth
Wife of
Alexander Crum Ewing
Of Strathleven
And only daughter of
Admiral Hayes O’Grady
Born 1st May 1833
Died 25th Oct. 1903
Also of
Alexander Crum Ewing
Of Strathleven
Born 9th Oct. 1826
Died Jamaica 30th Dec 1912
And laid to rest in
Half-Way Tree churchyard

Also of
2nd Lieut. Seaforth Highlanders
Only son of
Humphry Ewing
Crum Ewing
Of Strathleven
And of Eva Constance his wife
Born 29th March 1896
Killed in action near Givenchy
22nd Dec 1914
love hath no man than this
Also of
Eva Constance
Wife of
Humphry Ewing
Crum Ewing
Of Strathleven
Died 7th Dec. 1938
And of
Humphry Ewing
Crum Ewing
Of Strathleven
Born 24th Aug. 1866
Died in Jamaica 27th Nov. 1946
And laid to rest in
Half-Way Tree churchyard

Notes Alexander Crum Ewing is a son of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr MP This Alexander
is a grandson of Alexander in the central panel & son of Eva Constance (Hamilton), wife of Humphry above (d. Jamaica 1946), a son of Alexander (d. Jamaica 1912,
central panel).



Helen Dick [1792 – 14th June 1883]

Helen Dick

Helen Dick

The wife of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr, Helen Dick was the daughter of Rev Dr John Dick (1764 – 1833), minister of Greyfriars Secession church in Glasgow and Jane Coventry (d.1844), daughter of Rev George Coventry of Stitchell in Roxburghshire – see their memorial in Omega compartment and Profile of John Dick at

Humphry & Helen had five children:

Helen Tolmie Dick (died as an infant 30/7/1833), Alexander Crum Ewing, (became head of James Ewing & Co after his father and inherited Strathleven House and estate from his father. Died in Jamaica 1912). John Dick Crum Ewing, (on the memorial, died 15/10/1890). Humphry Crum Ewing (See below) and Jane Crum Ewing (1830 – 14/8/1908) who married General John Bailey CB of the Royal Engineers.

Helen died on 27th August 1883 and a memorial service was held in Helensburgh United Presbyterian Church on the following Sunday.


Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Jr (1838 – 12 March 1878) – Beta compartment

 HUMPHRY EWING CRUM EWING Junr Died at Better Hope Estate, Demerara March 12th 1878 And was buried here. JANET CREELMAN ROBSON, his wife Died June 14th 1899

Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Jr Memorial Panel

Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Jr Memorial Panel

As stated above on the Glasgow Necropolis memorial, Humphry Jnr died in Better Hope, Demerara which is close to Georgetown Guyana (ex British Guiana). The wording on the memorial sent to Demerara by his parents and situated in the village of Better Hope is


Guyana Memorial

Guyana Memorial









MARCH 12TH 1878


He that believeth in God shall have everlasting life

and I shall be his God and he shall be my son

NB – The same pink granite has been used for both the Glasgow and Demerara memorials


Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Jnr was the third and youngest son of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing and Helen Dick.

Humphry Crum Ewing Jnr

Humphry Crum Ewing Jnr

He was the fourth generation to complete an Arts degree at Glasgow University.

Like his eldest brother Alexander, Humphry followed his father into James Ewing & Co, the West India merchants started by his Great Uncle James Ewing (see and also became chairman of the West Indian Association of Glasgow and a director of the Colonial Company of London.

Humphry was brought up mostly at Ardencaple Castle in Helensburgh which was rented by his father, Humphry Crum Ewing Snr and his mother Helen Dick.



He married Janet Robson (1841 – 1899, see below), daughter of Neil Robson and Agnes Merry (see their memorial in Epsilon compartment). Humphry and Janet built and moved into No 28 Belhaven Terrace, beside Great Western road in Glasgow and this became  their family home where they brought up their seven children:



Agnes (1864-1908) – unmarried

Helen (1865-1968) – unmarried

Humphry (1866-19??) –  married Ethel Ross

Jessie (1870-1941) – married Hilary Moullin

Jane (1872-1961) – married Charles Scott (Scotts’ shipbuilding & Engineering, Greenock in 1898.

Nigel / Neil (1874-1960) – Married Josephine Marie Anquez in 1922

Maud (1877-1972) – unmarried

James Ewing (see  and following on from him, the Crum Ewings were also owners of Caymanas estate in St Catherine’s parish, Jamaica a sugar and banana plantation and other estates including Crawle, a stock breeding estate in Jamaica; Humphry Jnr’s brother Alexander spent a lot of time in Jamaica and died at Caymanas on 30th Dec 1912. The British Guiana / Guyanese sugar interest were sold to Booker Bros & McConnell & Co who owned over 70% of the sugar plantations.

Third Lanark Volunteers

Third Lanark Volunteers

Humphry Jnr was very active in the famous 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers and by 1862 he was Colonel of the regiment. He commanded the Volunteers for some years and was also a prominent member of Prestwick Golf Club in its early years and interested in many forms of sport.

In fact following the first Scotland v England football / soccer international in 1872, the regiment held a meeting in the Regimental Orderly room in East Howard St, Glasgow at

Third Lanark Football Club Badge

Third Lanark Football Club Badge

which the proposal to form a football club was proposed and it was emphasised that the then Lieutenant-Colonel H E Crum-Ewing, the majority of the Officers and twenty-five other members of the Regiment had signified their willingness to support such a club. The proposal was agreed and the famous team Third Lanark Football Club was established. The club was one of the early members to form the Scottish Football Association (SFA). The club existed from 1872 till its tragic demise in 1967. Purple TV made a documentary about the club for BBC Alba first broadcast on Sat 27th Jan 2018.





Lt. Col. Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing (Jnr) 3rd Lanark Volunteers (part of painting of all the Glasgow Volunteers in Kelvingrove Museum & Art gallery, Glasgow

Lt. Col. Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing (Jnr) 3rd Lanark Volunteers (part of painting of all the Glasgow Volunteers in Kelvingrove Museum & Art gallery, Glasgow



Lt. Col Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing In a window that used to be in the 3rd Lanark Volunteer’s Drill hall.

Lt. Col Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing
In a window that used to be in the
3rd Lanark Volunteer’s Drill hall.


Humphry Crum Ewing Jnr died at the early age of 40 at Better Hope, Demerara and his body was shipped back to be buried in Glasgow Necropolis. For more on the British Guiana sugar trade see


Death Notice – The Colonist 12th March 1878 (a Georgetown newspaper)


Ewing – This afternoon at Better Hope House, at Vryheid’s Lust, of apoplexy, Humphry Crum Ewing Jnr.

[Historically, ‘apoplexy’ was used to describe any sudden death which began with loss of consciousness]


Janet Creelman Robson (1841-1899)

Janet Creelman Robson (1841-1899)

Janet Creelman Robson (1841-1899)

Janet was the wife of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Jnr and daughter of Neil Robson (d.1869) and Agnes Merry (d.1883, Epsilon compartment). Through her mother she was a grand daughter of James Merry Snr (d.1841) and Janet Creelman (d.1854, Gamma compartment) and a niece of James Merry Jnr of Belladrum (d.1877, Zeta compartment).

Neil Robson, Janet’s father, was a well known Civil Engineer, senior partner of Messrs Robson, Forman & McCall and later partner with his brother-in- law, James Merry Jnr of Belladrum in the firm of Merry and Cunningham. As a civil engineer he was responsible, among other achievements, for the construction of the Glasgow to Helensburgh Railway line.

Janet’s father in law, Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing Snr was an MP for Paisley at the same time as Janet’s brother James Merry Jnr was MP for Falkirk and Burghs. The story goes that a fellow MP commented on James Merry’s excellent fashion in the way he always voted and questioned how he managed to achieve such skill; James Merry’s response was “when I know nothing of the subject before the House or feel at a loss what to do, I always watch to see how Crum Ewing is going and follow him into the lobby”!

Janet Creelman Robson, Humphry Jnr’s wife, died in 1899 at Drumkilbo, Meigle, Perthshire, which she rented. Death Notice – Glasgow Herald Friday, June 16, 1899


Drumkilbo, Meigle, Perthshire

Drumkilbo, Meigle, Perthshire

At Drumkilbo, Meigle, Forfar, on 14th inst., Jessie Creelman Robson, widow of Humphry Ewing Crum Ewing, of 28 Belhaven Terrace, Glasgow.—Funeral on Saturday, from Buchanan Street Station, Glasgow, to Necropolis on arrival of 12.20 train from Perth (due 2 p.m.). — Friends, kindly accept this intimation and invitation.

Reverend Robert Cunningham 1799-1883

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Profile supplied by and copyright of Morag T. Fyfe

Unlike the subjects of many of our profiles, who were Glasgow born and bred, Robert Cunningham only resided in Glasgow for a few years yet he and many members of his family are buried in the Glasgow Necropolis.

Reverend Robert Cunningham

Reverend Robert Cunningham

Cunningham was born at Stranraer on 17 August 1799 the eldest of seven known children of Andrew Cunningham, merchant in Stranraer and Jane McBride, his wife. [Family Search] Andrew Cunningham seems to have traded around the Irish Sea and the family spent some time on the Isle of Man (1810-1816) where the three youngest children were born. Andrew drowned on a voyage between Liverpool and the Isle of Man around 1818/9 when his eldest son was 19. [Obituary, F C] It is not known whether Andrew and his family had returned to Stranraer but by then Robert certainly had left home and was studying at Edinburgh University.

The loss of his father forced Robert to seek paid employment to support his mother and siblings and he was successful in obtaining the headmastership of Saltoun Parish School in 1820. While there he continued his studies for the ministry being licensed by the Presbytery of Haddington in 1825 though he remained a schoolmaster and was not called by a congregation. [JMMC] While still studying he moved to become the first headmaster of Stiell’s Hospital, Tranent in 1822. George Stiell, a native of Tranent, died in 1812 and left the bulk of his estate for the establishment of a hospital to house and educate poor children. The hospital was newly built in 1822 to the design of William Burn, architect, at a cost of £3000. [Sands]

In the east of Scotland Cunningham was beginning to gain a reputation as a forward thinking educator and in 1826 he was ‘poached’ by George Watson’s College, Edinburgh for the position of House Governor.  October 1832 was a momentous month for him both professionally and personally. On 1st October the doors of the Edinburgh Institution opened for the first time at 59 George Street with Cunningham as the founding headmaster and at the end of the month he married Elizabeth Jeffrey.

In July 1832 Cunningham had tendered his resignation to the board of Governors of George Watsons’ Hospital with effect from 1st October 1832. [For what follows see the documents collected by David McLeish in 1999 for Cunningham’s bicentenary] By August 1832 he was soliciting testimonials from suitable gentlemen in preparation for opening a school to be known as the Edinburgh Institution in which he intended to teach a more broadly based curriculum than the classical one found in most schools at that time. More emphasis was to be placed on modern languages and literature, the sciences and especially mathematics. The school roll grew quickly necessitating a move to larger premises in Hill Street then to Queen Street and finally to Melville Street in 1920. It did not adopt the name of Melville College until 1936 and in 1972 it merged with Daniel Stewart’s College to form Stewart’s Melville College. Robert Cunningham’s name has never been associated with the school he founded in the same way that Daniel Stewart’s has with the result that his name has slipped from general public consciousness.

Shortly after the proclamation of their banns for the third and last time on 28th October 1832 Robert Cunningham of 16 Hart Street and Miss Elizabeth Jeffrey of York Place married in Edinburgh. Some sources refer to Elizabeth as a widow but the evidence of her marriage banns and death certificate show she was not. She was the eldest of at least seven children of John Armstrong Jeffrey (1768-1822) of Allerbeck and Baldarroch, writer in Edinburgh and Elizabeth Catherine McConnell (1785-1856).

Two sons (Robert and John George) were born to the couple during this period in Edinburgh. Jane Margaret Munro Cunningham, one of John George’s daughters wrote an article in the Scotsman in 1960 about her grandfather which seems to draw on family papers and gives a few details about his personal life at that time. Much of his scarce free time in the summer vacation was spent furthering his knowledge of educational systems with visits to England in 1834, Prussia in 1835 and France and Switzerland in 1836 to study their school systems. [JMMC]

By early 1837 Cunningham decided to leave the Edinburgh Institution and on 10th March he wrote to the parents of his pupils notifying them of his decision to resign at Whitsunday (14th May). He received many letters of thanks testifying to his talents as a teacher, expressing sadness at his departure and expressing warm wishes for his future health and happiness. Many of the letters allude to the fact that his health had been affected by his work and that this was the reason for his resignation. At the beginning of May, a few days before the Cunninghams left Edinburgh, nearly two hundred pupils of the Edinburgh Institution presented their headmaster with a gold watch and chain as reported in the Caledonian Mercury of 6th May 1837.

Cunningham had been offered and accepted the post of Professor of Ancient Languages and Vice-President of Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. The family sailed from Liverpool to New York, the voyage taking eight weeks and before proceeding to Pennsylvania travelled up the Hudson to Albany and went on to view the Niagara Falls. This decision to move to the United States may not have been so surprising considering that many of Elizabeth Cunningham’s siblings emigrated to the United States in the 1830s. [GAWFP; Find a Grave]


Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

Cunningham arrived in America at a time when efforts were being made there to improve the standards of school teaching by trying to train teachers. In 1838 Dr Junkin, President of Lafayette College, established a Model School for the training of primary school teachers. Robert Cunningham was closely associated with the school and helped edit the Educator which was published every fortnight between April 1838 and August 1839 and was “devoted to the development of education in the largest sense”.  It carried articles by its editors and republished others describing experiences in France, Prussia and Switzerland. [AJE]

Robert and Elizabeth Cunningham and their three sons (Andrew was born during their stay in the United States) returned to Scotland late in 1839 to allow Robert to take up the position of Rector at the Normal Seminary of the Glasgow Educational Society, founded in 1837, at a reputed salary of £300 per annum. The Fifth Report of the Society, presented in October 1839 noted the Cunningham was expected to arrive in Scotland early in November and that he would be the first permanent Rector of the Seminary. Up to this point there had been a temporary Rector, who died, but the Seminary had not had a permanent Rector. David Stow, the Honorary Secretary of the Society and moving spirit in the establishment of the Seminary had taken on the additional role of Rector for much of the preceding two years. [Notes US; GES]


Normal Seminary, Glasgow

Normal Seminary, Glasgow


The Cunninghams had finally reached Glasgow but only stayed for a couple of years. According to the Glasgow Post Office directories of the period their first address was at 207 St George’s Road before they moved to 20 Buccleuch Street. However at the time of the 1841 census (6th June) Elizabeth with her sons John and Andrew are found in the household of Duncan Cowan, a retired merchant, at Carlton Place, South Leith, Midlothian. It is not so easy to identify Robert in the census but the only likely candidate seems to be Robert Cunningham, teacher, living at North Woodside Road, Barony, Lanarkshire. There are nine people living at that address and the census is not specific enough to indicate whether Robert is living there as a lodger or is living in a separate house.

The family’s time in Glasgow can not have been entirely happy. The buildings of the Normal Seminary had not been completed when Robert arrived although it was fulfilling its business of teaching children and training teachers; the Glasgow Educational Society was burdened by debt and Robert’s salary fell into arrears; two of their children died, hence the need to purchase a lair in the Glasgow Necropolis (in Compartment Lambda lair number 195).

Sometime in 1840 Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter who must have died shortly after birth as she is not named on the gravestone and her precise dates of birth and death are not given. The following year on 18th February, Robert jnr., who had already travelled twice across the Atlantic died aged 7.

At some point in the summer of 1841 (JMM Cunningham says it was during a holiday at Port Bannatyne near Rothesay), Cunningham decided to leave the Seminary and set up his own school. He initially leased Polmont House but quickly outgrew it and moved to the adjacent Blairlodge House in 1843.

Newspaper advertisements give some flavour of the school he had established. One in the Glasgow Herald of 27th December 1844 states that there were at that point 48 pupils and from 1st March 1845 there would be space to accommodate 6 more. Applicants must be less than 12 years of age. The school (Academy as it is described in the advert) is non-denominational “the aim of the religious instruction [being] to make Bible Christians, without reference to denominational peculiarities”. On 17th August 1846 there is a report in the Glasgow Herald of the end of term examinations of the pupils held on 31st July, before they broke up on 1st August. Not only were all the boys examined between 9am and 4pm but there immediately followed the prize giving. One of the prize winners listed was Cunningham’s own son John George (dux of the 3rd Latin class, dux of 2nd French class, 3rd place in 3rd History class). His other son Andrew would have been too young at this point to enter the school.

Blair Lodge, Polmont

Blair Lodge, Polmont

On a personal note it was during this period at Polmont House and Blairlodge that Cunninham’s three surviving daughters were born. Ellenor his eldest daughter (b. 1841) died at 10 months old and was buried in the Necropolis in August 1842 to be followed two years later by her grandmother Janet Macbride or Cunninham who died in July 1844 at Blairlodge at the age of 67. Elizabeth the middle daughter (b. 1844) died unmarried in 1920 and is also buried in the Necropolis. Agnes the youngest daughter (b. 1846) married William Armstrong and died in 1896.

The period Cunningham spent at Blairlodge was the longest at any of the educational establishments he served but in 1851 he left and moved to Edinburgh. He was followed at Blairlodge by Mr Robert Hislop who had also been his successor at the Normal Seminary. Blairlodge remained a school until 1908 when it closed due to an outbreak of an infectious disease and never reopened. The buildings were bought by the Prison Commissioners in 1911 for use as a Borstal and Polmont Young Offenders Institution is now on the site. The original mansion house on the site survived until its demolition in 2010. [FMA]

Elizabeth Jeffrey, Mrs Robert Cunningham, in old age. The church behind her left shoulder is thought to be Rutherglen Free Church built in 1850 but it is not known what connection she had with this church. *

Elizabeth Jeffrey, Mrs Robert Cunningham, in old age. The church behind her left shoulder is thought to be Rutherglen Free Church built in 1850 but it is not known what connection she had with this church.*

In 1843 the Free Church of Scotland had split from the established church in the Great Disruption and Cunningham was one of the ministers involved. He was instrumental in establishing a Free Church congregation at Polmont based at Blairlodge for the first few years until a church building could be constructed in 1847. By this time Cunningham had given up charge of the infant congregation to concentrate on his school. In 1848 he was appointed as secretary and superintendent of the Free Church Education Scheme but resigned almost immediately. [PA; DGS]

To all intents and purposes Cunningham seems to have retired after leaving Blairlodge although he lived for more than thirty years. He moved to Edinburgh where he served as an elder in Lady Glenorchy’s Free Church and undertook various activities relating to Free Church matters. One of these entailed a five month visit of inspection in 1856 to schools in Lebanon and Syria before the Colonial Committee of the Free Church took formal charge of them.

Reverend Robert Cunningham, in old age. The building behind his right shoulder is North West Castle, Stranraer. *

Reverend Robert Cunningham, in old age. The building behind his right shoulder is North West Castle, Stranraer. *

In 1859 he returned to his roots when he bought North West Castle, Stranraer, the former home of Admiral Sir John Ross the Arctic explorer. At Stranraer Cunningham settled into the social life of the town – he gave public lectures, subscribed to the new Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway and took part in the charitable life of the town. He died at North West Castle on 10th August 1883 and was brought to Glasgow for burial alongside his mother and children. His wife, Elizabeth Jeffrey, survived him by ten years and their eldest daughter, also Elizabeth Jeffrey, was buried beside her parents in 1920.

* Both these portraits previously belonged to Christopher Hall who has now donated them (2020) to Stewart’s Melville College. They have now been conserved and restored and we are very grateful to Mr Hall and Stewart’s Melville for permission to reproduce them.


AJE                   Professional Training of Teachers in Pennsylvania in The American Journal of Education N. S. no 12, no xxxvii December 1864 pp722, 723

DGS                 Dumfries and Galloway Standard 6 Sept 1848

Find a Grave

FMA                Falkirk museums and Archives.;jsessionid=C1AD9B2603535B4387B87802E191190F?id=477365&db=object&page=1&view=detail

GAWFP            Galloway Advertiser and Wigtownshire Free Press 15 Dec 1864

GES                  Fifth Report of the Glasgow Educational Society’s Normal Seminary. 1839

JMMC              Robert Cunningham: bold experiments by Scottish education pioneer by J M M Cunningham in The Scotsman 3 Sep 1960

Notes US          Notes on the United States of North America during a phrenological visit in 1838-9-40 by George Combe, Volume 2, 1841, page 156; pages 379-384

Obituary F C    Robert Cunninham’s obituary in the Free Church of Scotland Monthly

PA                    Perthshire Advertiser 17 Aug 1848;

Sands               Sketches of Tranent in the olden time by J Sands. 1881





Donald Crawford MA

Friday, May 19th, 2017

The Cruikshank Memorial

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

The profiles of Alexander & James Cruikshank are currently the only two we have from this memorial. If anyone can write up Profiles or provide information on the other members of the family please contact

Cruikshank Memorial

The full transcript of the memorial reads:-

JAMES CRUICKSHANK In memory of his wife ELIZA MILNE died 29th August 1861 aged 38 years, their daughter SUSAN ISABELLA MARY died 23rd December 1859 aged 5 months, JAMES CRUIKSHANK died 9th October 1884 aged 64 years, ROBERT ALEXANDER CRIUIKSHANK died 23rd November 1904 aged 52 years, KATHERINE JANE BELL his wife died 27th January 1915 aged 61 years, FRANCIS JAMES CRUIKSHANK died 15th July 1918 in his 64th year, MARY WOODBURN DICK wife of JAMES BROWN CRUIKSHANK died 15th May 1919 in her 54th year

JAMES only son of FRANCIS JAMES died at U.S.A. 1st September 1925 in his 43rd year

Copenhagen, Corunna, Flushing, Busaco, Fuentes Donor, Badajos, Nivelle, Nive Toulouse, Quatre Bras , Waterloo

 Also in memory of his uncles ALEXANDER CRUIKSHANK 79th Highlanders Late Fort Major Edinburgh Castle who fought in the above engagements died 22nd August 1857 aged 69 years, JAMES CRUIKSHANK 92nd Highlanders who fought at Quatre Bras and Waterloo died 18th April 1880 aged 86 years, his father ROBERT CRUIKSHANK builder Glasgow died 3rd October 1871 aged 80 years, his mother JANET HOWIE died 2nd April 1873 aged 75 years, his sisters ISABELLA died 4th April 1835, ELIZA died 12th April 1867

Cruikshank Memorial Inscription 1

Cruikshank Memorial Inscription 1

Cruikshank Memorial Inscription 2

Cruikshank Memorial Inscription 2


Links to the profiles of Alexander and James

Alexander Cruikshank

James Cruikshank




Alexander Cruikshank (1787-1857)

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

An older brother of James Cruikshank   Please also see our Cruikshank Memorial page

He was born in Knockando, Morayshire in 1787 and in 1805, aged 18, enlisted in the 79th Highlanders and was commissioned in 1838 ending up as Fort Major of Edinburgh Castle.

[After a reorganisation of the British Army in the late 19th century, the 79th became The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders; they were amalgamated in the 1960s first with the Seaforth Highlanders to become The Queen’s Own Highlanders which more recently merged with the Gordon Highlanders and now known as The Highlanders Battalion of The Royal Regiment of Scotland or more simply as the Highlanders].

Historical Background – The need to contain and defeat Napoleon’s expansionist plans provides the backdrop to virtually all the battles, engagements and actions in which Alexander Cruikshank was involved from the age of 20 in 1807 until Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815.

The primary aims of the Peninsula Campaign led by the Duke of Wellington (see the statue of him on horseback in front of the entrance to Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, GOMA, in Exchange Square) at that time was to stop Napoleon gaining complete control of the Iberian Peninsula countries of Spain and Portugal and to enable these countries to regain their sovereignty. Supported by these countries Wellington achieved the objectives finally taking Madrid in 1808. Wellington continued to advance into France and after Napoleon’s return from exile in Elba, a coalition of British, German, Dutch and Belgian countries, determined to defeat Napoleon, came together in two armies led by Wellington and Blucher leading to Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, followed by his exile in St Helena in 1815.

1807 saw Alexander Cruikshank in Denmark during the Napoleonic wars when a force of 30,000 soldiers and a fleet of 50 British ships bombarded the Danish fleet and the city of Copenhagen. They used Congreve rockets which were fire rockets developed by Britain after being on the receiving end of Mysorean rockets in south India. This bombardment of Copenhagen is considered the world’s first terror bombardment of civilians.

For more information see

In 1808, Sweden was at war with Russia, Denmark and France. Though Alexander Cruikshank was in Sweden as a member of Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore’s (Glasgow born and a statue of him is in Glasgow’s George Square) expeditionary force, they did not fight for Sweden because of a disagreements with Gustavus IV and returned home. However, ships of the British Royal Navy assisted the Swedish Navy in the Baltic and oversaw the blockade of the Russian fleet at Baltiyskiy Port until the sea started to freeze.

For more information see

By August 1808, Cruikshank and the regiment, still under Lt-General Sir John Moore were sent to Portugal and joined the British army encamped at Lisbon. The objective was to drive the French out of Spain. They were joined by more men at Mayorga and moved on to Sahagun before their epic retreat to Corunna where the French troops caught up with them and Lt-General Sir John Moore was killed in action. On 16th January 1809, the 79th, as part of Lt.-General Fraser’s division, was to hold the heights in front of the gates of Corunna. The French were held off and the troops embarked on ships to return to the UK.

Death of Lt-General Sir John Moore (1761-1809) on 17th January 1809 at Corunna

Death of Lt-General Sir John Moore (1761-1809) on 17th January 1809 at Corunna


For more information see

By July 1809, Alexander Cruikshank was a member of the ill-fated British Expeditionary Force of over 39,000 soldiers sent to the swampy island of Walcheren in Belgium. The intention was to support the Austrian forces against Napoleon’s French forces. Although Flushing was captured, the Austrians had already been defeated and were negotiating a peace treaty with Napoleon by the time the force had landed. The French force had been moved to Antwerp.

Although the British had captured Flushing, the French had moved their fleet to Antwerp, thus denying the British any chance of destroying it. 4,066 deaths occurred during the expedition, but only 106 officers and men were killed in combat, the rest died from Walcheren Fever (malaria like) and after returning to the UK, 11,513 officers and men were still sick.

For further information see

In January 1810, Alexander Cruikshank and the 79th Highlanders embarked for Portugal again, but this time to join the army acting under Sir Arthur Wellesley and proceeded to assist in the defence of Cadiz in Spain. In August they returned to Lisbon and joined the army under Lord Wellington at Busaco on 25th Sept. On the 27th Sept, the French attacked and the regiment fought with distinction but lost a number of soldiers. A number of skirmishes followed throughout the time up till March 1811 when the regiment captured the Lt-Colonel of the 39th French infantry at Fez d’Arouce.

Alexander Cruikshank took part in the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro (3–6 May 1811) village when the French repeatedly attacked the position held by the 79th , 71st Highlanders and 24th Regiment all under command of the 79th Regiment’s Lt-Col Philip Cameron who among many others, lost his life. Cruikshank was captured by the French during this battle but managed to escape from his captors while on a march to France between Burgos and Vittoria and begged his way through Spain and Portugal until he re-joined his regiment at Almeida in Portugal.

From 16 March to 6 April 1812, Cruikshank took part in the Siege of Badajos (Baqajos on the memorial) castle under the control of a French garrison of 5000 men. This was a particularly bloody time with 4,800 allied forces killed.

For more information see

After the Siege of Badajos, the regiment moved around different areas and did not take part in any military engagements till Salamanca. However, during this period the 79th were hit with two severe sickness epidemics and it appears that Alexander Cruikshank did not take part in the Battle of Salamanca which took place on  22nd July 1812 when the French fought a joint British, Portuguese and Spanish force in the hills to the south of the village. It was a fierce battle but was a total success for Wellington and his men albeit there were very heavy casualties; the British, Portuguese and Spanish suffered 5,000 killed and wounded and the French 7,000 killed and wounded and 7,000 French soldiers were taken prisoner.

View from the British memorial on the Arapil Grande east to the heights of Arapil Chico and Salamanca on the horizon

View from the British memorial on the Arapil Grande east to the heights of Arapil Chico and Salamanca on the horizon

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After Salamanca the army entered Madrid by mid-August 1812

The Siege of Burgos Castle

The Siege of Burgos Castle

The Siege of Burgos Castle (150 miles north of Madrid), took place from 19th Sept to 21st Oct 1812. A garrison of French were stationed there and eventually the British and coalition forces were forced to withdraw when French reinforcements arrived and the British found themselves vastly outnumbered. Alexander Cruikshank  didn’t take part as he was still to re-join his regiment after being captured at the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro (3–6 May 1811).    

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The 79th Highlanders were not involved in the Battle of Vitoria on 21st June 1813, as they were guarding the magazines and stores at Medina de Pomar.

The Battle of Pyrenees took place on 28th July 1813 with the 79th taking up a position across the valley of the Lanz and was almost immediately attacked by the French. Alexander Cruikshank is not thought to have taken part in this battle.

The Allied army (British, Portuguese and Spanish) followed the French army towards the French frontier and Cruikshank’s next action was with the 79th Highlanders at the Battle of Nivelle on 10th Nov 1813

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This led Cruikshank and fellow soldiers into the Battle of Nive in Dec 1813 where the French army were entrenched on the river bank.

Cruikshank and the Allied forces continued their advance to the blockade of Bayonne and the next major battle at Toulouse in Bordeaux in April 1814 ending on 11th April, the day before the abdication of Napoleon. 3500 Allied soldiers were killed. Alexander Cruikshank was awarded a silver medal with 5 clasps (see example of this medal below)

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The 79th Highland Regiment remained in the south of France embarked in July 1814 and arrived at Cork in Ireland on 26th July from where the ship made two abortive (very stormy weather) attempts to sail to North America. The regiment then moved to Belfast in Feb 1815 where it remained till May.

June 1815 saw the regiment return to the Continent with all other available forces under Wellington and in another battle with the French by the 16th June at the important cross roads at Quatre Bras, in Belgium. This time it was a joint British and Dutch army that faced the French.

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This battle was two days before the Battle of Waterloo, Belgium, in which Alexander Cruikshank, now aged 28, also participated. The Imperial French army (67,000 men consisted of 48,000 infantry, 14,000 cavalry, and 7,000 artillery with 250 guns) under Emperor Napoleon faced up to Wellington’s army (67,000 men: 50,000 infantry, 11,000 cavalry, and 6,000 artillery with 150 guns, including support from Holland, Belgium and Germany).  50,000 men from the British, coalition and French army were killed in this battle.

Following the defeat of the French army, the coalition army, including the 79th Regiment, entered France on 19th June arriving in Paris on 8th July 1815. King Louis XVIII was restored to the French throne. Napoleon abdicated, surrendered to the British, and was exiled to Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.

The regiment camped just outside Paris till Dec 1815 when, as part of the Army of Occupation, they went into cantonments in Pas de Calais, where it remained till the end of October 1818, when it embarked for England, taking up its quarters at Chichester on the 8th of November.

Battle of Waterloo

Battle of Waterloo

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In 1819, Alexander Cruikshank was promoted to Corporal in November and in 1820 the regiment went to Ireland where they were deployed at Fermoy, Limerick, Templemore, Naas, Dublin, and Kilkenny

1822 – Alexander married Elizabeth Whitehearth

1824 – He was promoted to Sergeant

In August 1825 Cruikshank embarked from Cork for Quebec in Canada, arriving in October and remaining there till 1828 when the regiment moved to Montreal.

1832 – Alexander’s second marriage, to Ann Gordon

1833 – Alexander Cruikshank was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant and the regiment returned to Quebec from Montreal where it remained till 1836 when it embarked for the UK and by October was stationed in Glasgow before being moved to Edinburgh in June 1837.

1834 – Maria, a daughter was born in Perth,

1836 – Margaret, a daughter was born in Stirling

1838 – Cruikshank was commissioned Quartermaster on 12th October. The regiment returned to Ireland and remained there till the end of 1840 when it returned to Gibraltar where it arrived in January 1841 and carried out garrison duty till June 1848.

1841 – , Alexander Cruikshank’s second wife, Ann Gordon, died in Gibraltar on 28th June, aged 30. She was buried at Sandpits cemetery, Gibraltar

1843 – Isabella, daughter of Alexander Cruikshank and his first wife Elizabeth, died in Gibraltar by drowning on 18th June, at 15 years of age and is buried in Sandpits cemetery, Gibraltar.

1849 – Alexander Cruikshank retired on half pay after an active service of 46 years (including the two years allowed for Waterloo)

1851 – On the recommendation of Lord Panmure, Cruikshank was appointed Fort Major at Edinburgh Castle by the Duke of Wellington. He held this position until his death. In the 1851 census, he lived at 11 Forres St, Edinburgh with two daughters, Maria and Margaret plus a servant, Catherine Ferguson.

Alexander Cruikshank By kind permission of the Trustees of The Highlanders’ Museum (Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection).Fort George, Inverness-shire

Alexander Cruikshank By kind permission of the Trustees of The Highlanders’ Museum (Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection).Fort George, Inverness-shire

In the Memoires of Col. E W Cumming, 79th News, January 1935 it states “Quarter Master Alexander Cruikshank or  ‘Auld Crooky’ as he was called, was the last of those grand soldiers who, in the 79th, had fought in the Peninsular War and Waterloo. All the rest had passed away by death, discharge or to prison…….He delighted in dining at Mess, and always sat amongst the youngsters……He was a prisoner of war in the hands of the French for some time at Fuentes d’Onor (he escaped and rejoined) and this was the only part of his career that he was silent about, and could not be induced to speak of……he was a hard featured old fellow but had always a kindly pleasant smile on his face”


Group of the 79th Highlanders beside the Mill Mount Battery, Edinburgh Castle, 1852  by Robert Ranald McIan –  shown here by courtesy of the Trustees of The Highlanders’ Museum (Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection)., Fort George, Inverness-shire

Group of the 79th Highlanders beside the Mill Mount Battery, Edinburgh Castle, 1852 by Robert Ranald McIan –
shown here by courtesy of the Trustees of The Highlanders’ Museum (Queen’s Own Highlanders Collection)., Fort George, Inverness-shire

Standing from left to right: Lieutenant Adam Maitland; Captain John Douglas of Glenfinart; Lieutenant Keith Ramsay Maitland; Captain Andrew Hunt of Pittencrieff; Fort Major Alexander Cruikshanks; Captain William Chauval Hodgson; Lieutenant and Adjutant Henry MacKay; Lieutenant Edward William Cuming; Captain William Monro; Paymaster John Cornes; Captain Thomas Bromhead Butt; Major Edmund James Elliot; Lieutenant Colonel The Honourable Lauderdale Maule; Lieutenant George Murray Miller; Lieutenant William Cunninghame; Captain Henry Murray; Orderly Room Clerk Sergeant David Cant; Paymaster Sergeant George McLuckie; Private Charles Mackay.

1857, Alexander Cruikshank died aged 70 having completed 52 years of service to his country. He was buried in Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh. See The Scotsman newspaper’s report below for a full description of the funeral parade.

Scotsman Article of the funeral of Alexander Cruikshank


Alexander Cruikshank’s Medals - Peninsula Medal with 5 clasps

Alexander Cruikshank’s Medals – Peninsula Medal with 5 clasps

Cruikshank Map

Pictures of Alexander Cruikshank’s memorial in Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh where he was buried; not in Glasgow Necropolis Photographs by kind permission of Caroline Gerard of the Friends of Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh

Pictures of Alexander Cruikshank’s memorial in Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh where he was buried; not in Glasgow Necropolis
Photographs by kind permission of Caroline Gerard of the Friends of Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh


Another Glasgow Necropolis connection with the Peninsula war is through the memorial to Alexander Allan (1825-1890) in Zeta Division.

Alexander Allan

Alexander Allan

His father, Capt Sandy Allan (1780-1854) founded the Allan Line but before that, his 175 ton brigantine Hero was chartered by the British Government to transport troops, cattle, and goods to Spain to supply Wellington’s army. He made much faster voyages than his competitors because he refused to remain in convoy with other ships being protected by a naval escort.


Further reference reading –

The Years of the Sword by Elizabeth Longford

To War with Wellington; from the Peninsula to Waterloo by Peter Snow





James Cruikshank (1795 – 1880)

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

A younger brother of Alexander Cruikshank   Please also see our Cruikshank Memorial page

1795 – James Cruikshank was born at Dyke, near Nairn in Morayshire

1812 – Described as a Labourer in his military records. He enlisted on 21st August in the 92nd Highlanders (later became Gordon Highlanders) at Inverness and was described as5’5” at the time and 5’6” by the time he reached 24 years of age.

June 1815 – James was with the 92nd Highlanders at Quatre Bras and the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium – see also notes under Alexander Cruikshank. James was aged 21.

The regiment embarked at Cork on 1st May and arrived at Ostend on 9th May, Ghent on 11th May and remained there until 28th May then to Brussels. In preparation for a likely battle, the troops were issued with four days’ supply of bread, and given camp-kettles, bill-hooks, and everything necessary for the impending campaign.

On 16th June they marched from Brussels as part of Lt.-General Sir Thomas Picton’s division and came under fire at strategically important cross roads of the Brussels to Charleroi road and Nivelles to Namur road. The 92nd were formed in front of the Quatre Bras farmhouse with the Duke of Wellington and his staff dismounted near the centre of the 92nd’s line. Wellington’s men and cavalry charged but had to retire after they lost a lot of men and horses. Then, the 92nd, along with other Highland regiments,charged, the French retreated and the Highlanders pursued the French till darkness fell.

On the 17th June , Wellington gathered his army at Waterloo and after an exceptionally wet night and thunder storm in the morning of 18th June battle commenced. The regiment lost 10 officers, 3 sergeants and 14 other ranks in the battle.

The 92nd Highlanders and the Scots Greys at Waterloo

The 92nd Highlanders and the Scots Greys at Waterloo  followed by  which includes the advance of the 92nd Highlanders

Along with the 95th Highlanders (including his brother Alexander Cruikshank) and the rest of the British army, the 92nd Highlanders marched to Paris and stayed there until they embarked for Margate from Calais on 11th Dec, spent time in England and returned to Edinburgh Castle on 12th Sept 1816.

1817 – James was promoted to Corporal on 25th September. The regiment moved to Ireland in April.

1819 – On 16th April James Cruikshank and the regiment embarked for Jamaica and arrived on 2nd June. They marched from Port Royal to Up-Park Camp, Kingston watched by a large crowd of spectators who had never seen a Highland uniformed regiment before!  The regiment suffered dreadfully from Yellow Fever to the extent that between 25th June and 24th December, the regiment lost 10 officers, 13 Sergeants, 8 drummers and 254 other ranks which was more deaths than the regiment had sustained in engagements from the time the regiment was formed in 1794 to, and including, the Battle of Waterloo.

1823 – James Cruikshank promoted to Sergeant on 11th November

1825 – James reduced to Private on 13th July and promoted to Corporal on 27th October

1826 – James promoted to Sergeant on 25th July.

1827 – The regiment was hit by Yellow fever again and lost another 3 officers and 60 men. The regiment embarked at Kingston partly in February and partly in March and by the end of May were all back in Edinburgh.

1828 – The regiment embarked at Glasgow for Dublin.

1831 – James Cruikshank was discharged from the army at his own request on 27th September at Richmond barracks, Dublin with a modified pension. He was described as being of very good character. He served the army for 25 years and 7 days including the Battle of Waterloo, 7 years in the West Indies and the balance at home (included Ireland, pre-independence). On discharge James became a Chelsea Pensioner and lived in Glasgow.

1841 – The 1841 Census called James Cruikshank an ‘army pensioner’ living at Thomson’s Lane, Glasgow, along with an unnamed wife (b. 1811 in Scotland), Barbara Cruikshank (b.1830 in Ireland), Jean Cruikshank (b.1832 in Lanarkshire), Ann Thomson (Pirn Winder b.1796 in Scotland), Mary Thomson (Dress Maker b. 1821 in Scotland) and Ann Thomson (Thread Worker) b. 1826 in Scotland.

1851 – The 1851 Census confirmed that James Cruikshank was a Chelsea Pensioner living at 4 Well St, Calton, Glasgow along with his wife Elizabeth (b. 1814 in Airdrie), daughter Ann (b. 1843 in Glasgow), son, Alexander (b.1849 in Glasgow), Mary Thomson, sister-in-law (Dress Maker, b. 1824 in North Monkland, Lanarkshire) and Ann Thomson, sister-in-law (Winder, b. 1828 in New Monkland). [Some of these dates do not tie up with the 1841 census because the 1841 census rounded dates to the nearest 5 years so the 1851 dates are more accurate]

1861 – The 1861 Census confirmed that James Cruikshank was a Pensioner & Bricklayer’s clerk who lived in North Coburg St, Govan, along with his wife, Elizabeth,   daughter Ann, son, Alexander and daughter Elizabeth (b. 1852 in Glasgow)

1871 – The 1871 Census confirmed that James Cruikshank was a Police Cart Weigher and lived at 385 Gallowgate St, St John Glasgow, was now a widower but lived with his daughter Ann (thread Winder), son, Alexander (Tinsmith & Gas fitter) and daughter Elizabeth (House Keeper [presumably to the household – Ed])

1880 – James Cruikshank died on 18th April

James Cruikshank was awarded the Waterloo medal

James Cruikshank was awarded the Waterloo medal


For more information on the 92nd Highland Regiment see

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